In the technology industry, we constantly focus on the next big thing.

It started with computers, which were going to do away with paper. Then came Internet shopping, which was going to do away with catalogs and (gasp!) going to an actual store. Then email came, which threatened to replace letters.

Mobile and social are the latest to be added to the mix. So, what are they going to replace? Catalogs and paper (again)? Television? Email? Marketing as we know it?


Looking to the next big thing is not inherently a problem. As marketers, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and our employers about the impact new technologies will have on our businesses.

We need to consider how changes in technology can open up new opportunities and how they change the way we interact with consumers. However, in our zeal for the next big thing, we must guard against assuming that the next big thing will immediately replace the things we already know.

For example, instead of reducing paper consumption by ushering in "paperless offices," computers fueled more paper consumption via the introduction of inexpensive home printers.

We are witnessing the same thing with the digital-marketing trifecta of social media, mobile and email. Instead of cannibalizing one another, they are fueling one another.

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image of Morgan Stewart
Morgan Stewart is co-founder and CEO of Trendline Interactive (, a strategic email marketing agency.