[MUSIC] Not that long ago, computers offered only a limited capacity to carry and transmit texts, symbols, and numbers via bulky computer terminals. Digital communication at the time, mainly consisted exchanges of codes and strings of simple texts among those who could speak the language of computers. There was inefficient and asynchronous, and it was often deprived of social meaning or context. Personal computers became more accessible in the 1980s and 90s. With the development of the point and click graphic user interface, and enhanced color displays, as well as the increase of Internet speed and bandwidth. All of these improvements meant that users could send emails, visit online chat rooms and browse informational websites on the World Wide Web, the mid 2000s saw a second stage of development of the web. In the so called Web 2.0 era, websites became interactive, allowing users a greater degree of control and then delivered richer multimedia content. The Internet and the World Wide Web were no longer geeky computer tools reserved only for those who are tech-savvy. Different functions of communication, such as interpersonal communication, information search, and content creation and publishing started to converge on digital platforms. The web became a digital hub, where users could search for and share information and socialize with each other. Social and user generated content platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube were not just communication channels anymore, but distinctive virtual communities created and maintained by billions of users worldwide. Beyond these social activities, other aspects of human lives were also moving to the digital world. More people became comfortable with the ideas of online banking and shopping. They spent more and more time online via digital interfaces in a digitally mediated society. Today, more than half of the world's population is connected to the Internet via personal computers and mobile devices across geographical boundaries and time zones. Internet users exchange information, share their opinions, thoughts and feelings and create virtual identities to interact with each other 24/7. Personal computing devices offer infinite chances for companies to discover and reach global consumers. New generations of devices are created every few months with added features and functions that sometimes impact the planning and delivery of marketing campaigns. In response, marketers develop new tools and frequently revise performance measures on major digital platforms. How do marketers stay focused on their core mission in an ever changing technological system? How do they make sense of the many available digital communication tools and platforms and use them to develop a winning marketing strategy? Beyond the bells and whistles, what are some of the common features that underlie digital communication? I'll discuss five defining characteristics of today's digital communication systems that are most relevant to marketing communications. First, digital communication systems are interactive. Interactive communication systems allow human users to seek out and engage with digital content in ways that resemble human to human dialogue. Different digital platforms offer varying degrees of interactivity. For example, a shopping website that offers several different ways for users to search and explore a product information is more interactive than a digital catalogue. Interactive marketing messages are more engaging than non interactive messages. Consumers have more control over the presentation and flow of information in an interactive experience. Empirical research has shown that consumers perceive information presented by interactive media as more credible than information presented by traditional media. Interactive digital systems also allow marketers to collect instant feedback from consumers. Each interaction between a consumer and the web page, such as clicking a link, or viewing a video, can provide valuable insights about the intention and behavior pattern of individual consumers. A second feature that defines the digital communication systems today is multimodality. Digital communication expands the capacity of mass communication systems, such as print and broadcast media by presenting information in multimedia formats, with text, visual, and interactive elements. Modern communication systems also allow users to interact with technological devices using natural communication modalities such as voice and hand gestures. Just a few decades ago, only someone who understood computer language could command a computer and retrieve digital information. But today, even a toddler can naturally interact with advanced technologies to seek information in entertainment on a touchscreen. This expansion of modality allows marketers to reach a wider and more diverse consumer population than ever before. Third, digital communication systems today are increasingly intelligent. The rise of automation and artificial intelligence have opened the door to a new world of technological innovation that previously only existed in science fictions. Smart digital devices such as smartphones, wearable computers, and digital personal assistance, present new opportunities for marketers to influence consumers. The fourth key feature of today's digital communication systems is their ability to connect people. Social media platforms have fundamentally altered the ways in which humans communicate socially with one another. Online social networks harness the power of connected people through computer networks. On social media, marketing messages can travel fast and wide. Social media also allows companies to develop and maintain a virtual social identity, which makes them seem more personalized and credible to their consumers. Finally, digital communication devices are becoming mobile. Mobile communication devices tether their users to the marketers. Businesses can track the whereabouts of prospective customers and offer useful information when the right moment strikes. Let me use an example to illustrate the strategic complexity facing digital marketers today. Mobile technology has spread rapidly around the globe. Today, it is estimated that more than 5 billion people have mobile devices and over half of these connections are smartphones. What are some of the ways a company can reach its consumer using smartphones? How does each of the key features of digital communication systems I discussed earlier, play a role in the marketing communication strategies you listed?