Code. It's the Swiss army knife of words. It can be the hidden formula behind computing, the combination to unlock a secure setting, a body of law, the rules by which something is built, or a highly personal set of standards. However you interpret the term code, one thing is pretty clear: the business of digital advertising and marketing needs a new one.
Through our peer-to-peer Seller Forum events, our coaching practice and the dozens of workshops we do each year, we get a pretty broad perspective on the industry. What no one seems to dispute is that we're in recovery from the excesses of the "scale at all costs" approach of the last few years... which I've heard described as our inventory and data version of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Marketers complain about supply chain pollution and fraud and governments are legislating consumer privacy firewalls. Clearly, we are struggling for a new basis on which to plan and build and operate. But the need goes even deeper than technology specs and business standards.
Business leaders and people managers are looking for a new code as well. They're looking to unlock engagement, loyalty and determination in employees who've come to expect never-ending growth, a regular cycle of paradigm shifts, constant promotion and ultimate wealth. How do we build truly great teams and organizations to last? Our past approaches to career growth, diversity and lifestyle support was never built to code... and it cannot continue to stand. If we're to define what it means to build a satisfying, meaningful career in our profession over the decades ahead, we better start now.