Thoughts on Digital Inflection Points, or, Don’t Wait For Your Customers




  • If you’ve heard me speak about digital marketing or social media strategies, you’ve heard me use the phrase “inflection point” when describing the growth of the web. That growth (and those inflection points) have impacted not just how we communicate online, but also in how business is done through digital marketing. Most importantly, these inflection points have come to influence what our customers now expect these interactions to be.


    digital inflection point


    Digital inflection points have faceted meanings


    For example, the introduction of YouTube in 2005 was a major inflection point along the development of today’s digital communications. The existence, and eventual use, of YouTube continues to be a major inflection “moment” for the evolution of customer communications.


    inflection point definition


    What does that mean?


    For the past decade, users and brands are able to very easily share video content across the web. In the early days, hobbyists and artists dominated the service. But as other “digital inflection points” emerged, so too did society’s ability to use and to understand the power of YouTube. Today, anyone with a smartphone can post and share video content. Likewise, brands are using this video channel to connect with consumers in profound ways.


    LOLcats, school recital videos, vacation clips, webinars, Google hangouts, and streaming movies like “The Interview” all have something in common. Each new use of YouTube comes at moments when consumer demand and participation meet. These moments themselves can be considered inflection points for the growth of YouTube.


    Beyond YouTube, there have been many inflection points along the growth of the web that also define how digital marketing is done.


    Who remembers when these tactics and channels first came online? Or more to the point, how we leveraged them and repurposed them and manipulated them???



    • banner ads
    • Flash
    • SEO
    • table-based layouts
    • CSS
    • portals
    • video
    • communities
    • RSS
    • social media
    • mobile internet

    Each one is marked by new and increasingly creative ways for marketing to communicate AT our customers. We got really good at building the next new shiny object.We also became TOO GOOD at building the next new shiny object.


    one way


    Going forward, let’s all agree that there will continue to be many inflection points along the web’s growth path. Let’s agree that we should focus our efforts on building great content that supports amazing customer experiences. Let’s agree that we need to enable conversations that will inspire the next great inflection point.


    And most of all, let’s agree that end game hasn’t really changed… we seek to connect with each in meaningful ways.

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