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Last week, I attended the Digital Innovation Summit in New York City with my management team.

Throughout the conference we heard speakers from some of the world’s top companies discuss the challenges that their organisations face when it comes to digital strategy, social media integration and over all, how to keep innovation alive while marketing their companies online.

While listening to these speakers throughout the conference one thing in particular really struck me; the challenges that we face as a company, which our client’s face and that start-ups face are the exact same challenges that Fortune 500 companies are facing today.  Every organisation is looking for ways to improve their digital marketing strategy, better manage projects and increase profit margins by analyzing strategies and leveraging their big data.

Big data encompasses the threads of information about our clients and prospects that we compile. From client lists to social media followers, likes to overall social engagement and search, knowing who our customers are and how they interact with our brands online is paramount to a business’s success today. Assembling this data into meaningful information for C Level Executives and marketing directors to analyze is key when building a strong digital marketing strategy.

In an economic market that is continually developing and changing, businesses need to evolve in order to thrive, even survive. This fact was echoed by virtually every speaker at the conference from the likes of US Bank, Forbes, CBS Interactive and ESPN to name but a few.

Evolution leads to innovation, but the challenge is finding ways to adapt and leverage technology in order to create innovative solutions and remain relevant.  Darwinism is alive and living in the world economy and it’s evolving faster than at any time in history as it relates to the use and interaction our customers have with technology. Those who do not adapt and keep up will go the way of the dodo bird. “Evolve or die” was a common thread of dialogue at the conference.

The emphasis for C-Level Executives was to hire the right people and agencies. Take time to assemble your team, provide them with a responsible budget to be innovative, install analytics and a good dashboard to measure their results against your goals, then effectively get out of their way and let them run with it.

This perspective was further supported by the leadership presentations of two of the largest US Universities, North Eastern University and Western Governors University. Both organizations had presentations emphasizing that job growth over the next five years will demand workers to have skills in marketing strategy management; social media and web management; and analytics and big data management.

Both noted how social media was cutting across all job postings in the US, with virtually every position requiring some level of social media skill and experience. This rang true for all positions from C-Level Executives to executive assistants, through to web developers and market research analysts.

Currently, the US is tracking for a shortage of 85 million jobs in the mid to high skilled sector and are forecasting a glut of 92 million for the lower skilled workforce. In the future, the demand will be for mid and highly skilled workers in North America, therefore the education industry has to adjust their learning outcomes and programs in order to support this demand. The institutions indicated how important it was that their course offerings, learning outcomes and curriculum evolve to train college graduates to perform in these mid and high-level positions.

Businesses in every industry must be willing to adapt within changing economic climates and to try new things because it’s the only way to continue to grow. To adapt within the digital marketing industry companies need to try new things, tweak old strategies, get feedback and continually evaluate their results. Some projects will stick while others get dropped, but the key is to continue to try new things and analyze data to figure out what works.

The fact is, in today’s market innovation is the only way to combat Digital Darwinism.

Evolve or die.