By Claire West

The high street has had a disastrous start to 2013 and most acknowledge that the main culprit of failures such as Jessops and HMV is their inability to understand digital.

Struggling retailers like HMV and Jessops "failed to move with the times", and didn’t cope with the "threat of the internet" so in an effort to stop the business graveyard filling up with any more household names, the inhabitants of ‘Silicon Roundabout’ are holding a crisis meeting.

On the 17th June 2013 key figures in digital will meet to debate how they can effectively pass on their knowledge to marketing people at every level. The outcome will then inform the content of the Digital Marketing Show which is being held 26th to 28th November 2013 to educate the marketing community.

Philippa Snare, Chief Marketing Officer for UK Microsoft explained why she’ll be attending; “This is a critical debate. There are still far too many UK businesses who are trailing far behind in their understanding of digital. We need to come together to ensure the right action is taken to avoid any more casualties.”

Digital, on average, now drives 70% of a company’s earnings. There have been some brilliant examples of British companies who have stolen huge competitive advantage and driven customers into their stores through their use of digital media (such as John Lewis). However this has left other brands even more exposed as they trail behind. One astonishing example of this failure is that, of our top retailers, only just over half have a website that works on a mobile device.

Many senior managers in marketing still admit that they don’t understand digital. One of the reasons is that they believe that it’s too difficult and should be owned by the techies. Harper Reed, CTO of Barack Obama’s 2012 election campaign recently suggested that to solve that misunderstanding: “We need to drop the ‘e’ from ‘e-marketing.’”

Jeremy Waite, Head of Social Strategy, Adobe EMEA, is also supporting the initiative; “For many, digital marketing is about "Likes" and Apps, and the killing of the high street. But those that know, see it as a whole shift of communication, that adds to and can support traditional media. The digital riptide is about embracing new and very different ways to engage with consumers. It's about Affiliate Marketing, Internet Advertising, Web Analytics, Social Media, Search Marketing, Mobile, Email Marketing, E-commerce, Customer Experience and Content. It is no longer optional or a ‘nice to have’; it’s essential, to stay ahead of the competition.”

Andrew Ellis Founder of Like Minds (a global “Thought Leadership" platform) has described the event at The Ivy as; “Critical for the UK economy. It’s time that digital marketing - or what we call "Social Business" - went mainstream. This is a great opportunity for the best digital marketing brains to come together and debate how we can help make that happen.”

Nick James of Freshly Made Content, who are organisers of the Show said; “We’re really grateful to the digital community for getting behind this essential initiative. It is only with their support that we can make digital marketing simple for everyone and really drive home why it’s so important for all UK businesses.”

The crisis meeting is being held on 17th June 2013 at the Ivy Club. The Show will be held 26th to 28th November 2013 at ExCel. Attendance to the event at The Ivy is by invitation only.

Digital Marketing moves at lightening pace and marketers need access to the latest information and advice - a new event – The Digital Marketing Show is taking place in Excel, London in November - visit www.digitalmarketingshow.co.uk

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