Digital Darwinism

The parallel between enterprise and organism isn’t new, but this Booz & Company article explains marketing in that way, and I think it’s pretty insightful. Connecting the idea of biological DNA to corporate DNA, the lifeblood of an organization or organism, but also how ad agencies and marketing services providers all feed off one another.

“An ecosystem is an appropriate metaphor for today’s marketing environment. It is a dynamic, complex, and interconnected community in which marketers, advertising agencies, and media companies depend on one another, to a certain extent, to survive and thrive. But it is also a brutal, competitive arena, where a kind of “digital Darwinism,” or survival of the fittest, holds sway, rapidly distinguishing winners from losers. Companies that possess certain preferred traits in their organizational DNA or that have superior skills of self-adaptation are positioned to flourish in this ecosystem. Those without either face almost certain extinction.

The marketing and media ecosystem has arrived at an evolutionary threshold. Old structures and ways of working persist but are fundamentally challenged by newer, more dynamic, more innovative alternatives. Numerous developments have brought the industry to this transition point. Consumers have more control and choice. Their media usage has fragmented. Many more advertising platforms exist. And marketers are insisting on greater precision in targeting and accounting for their ad spend.

The recent economic turmoil only accelerates this evolutionary transition. Companies across the ecosystem have to acquire or develop three dominant traits to survive: relevance, interactivity, and accountability.