The New Quid Pro Quo
Marketing as Product Experience

Digitourists and Digitravellers

My mate Sarah Morning has written an excellent paper about The Digital Consumer that she's kindly allowed me to [re]publish - you can download it at the bottom of the post.

It's an expansive look at the current digital marketing landscape but, like any good planning document, it comes at it from the view of the users, not the technology.

The dominant metaphor for the Internet is that of space. Whereas once we had the information superhighway, now we have uncharted media landscapes and virtual worlds that we Explore or Navigate.

From here the paper makes a brilliant leap - as in the 'real' world, there are different kinds of explorers of the digital landscape and this provides the foundation for a bimodal segmentation of the digital consumer.

Firstly there are Digitourists:

Digitourists essentially look for embassies in the virtual world. They look for sites or brands that act as guides. Digitourists, like any tourists, know exactly what they want to see and what they want to find - whether it be a product or a piece of information.

And then there are the Digitravellers:

Digitravellers are different to Digitourists - no less or no more technologically able in many cases, they want however to explore things for themselves. They want to navigate their own way around the wilderness of information and stories of the internet, roughing it unguided through the digital landscape. Their interest lies not so much in arriving at a piece of information or a particular site, as the Digitourist’s does, but instead on the journey itself. For the Digitraveller it is all about the people they meet and the unexpected, undiscovered places they stumble across along the way.

“A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
Lao Tzu

The paper goes on to demonstrate how marketing to these different types of digital consumers has to be very different. So much digital display advertising is a translocation of broadcast interruption online, which only makes sense when targeting the Passive Massive in their Digitourist form.

However, if you want to communicate with active Digitravellers, who want to control their experience, then you need to engage not interrupt and this poses a much greater creative challenge, which the paper explores in depth with dozens of great examples.

Sarah's contact details are on the document if you want to get in touch.

Travelling with Moving: The Digital Consumer.