Scientists have reported the discovery of hybrid sharks — a cross between the Black Tip Shark and the Austrailan Black Tip Shark. The Australian Black Tip lives only in warm tropical waters, and is slightly smaller than the more common Black Tip that is found globally.

That does not sound like a big wow, but, in fact, from an evolutionary perspective, it means that sharks are adapting to climate change. From my personal fear factor point of view, it means it’s only a matter of time before sharks “adapt” and infest our freshwater lakes with their giant smiles and teenage appetites.

Not all hybrids are a threat. I drive a hybrid. With gas at $4.00 a gallon, it makes me happy to see my car creeping above 50 mpg. So what’s with the theme of hybrids?

I used to work for a database marketing firm. Now I work for a direct and digital marketing firm. In fact, it seems that everyone in advertising, marketing, PR, media, web design, social media, and direct says they are also digital firms. Is this “hybridization” or has the world changed?

Both, I think. We still are a database marketing firm — but we have to be a lot more. We have to manipulate data, analyze data, plus create sophisticated digital “windows” for our clients, so they can make smarter marketing decisions.

ALL of this is digital. All of it is now online, whether in the cloud, or through a portal, or an email that renders perfectly on your vintage BlackBerry, or a smart sign that changes its message when you walk by.

The entire marketing world is in the same boat — the absolute necessity to make their messages accessible through whatever channel customers are most likely to want to find their products and services.

Here’s a definition of hybrid marketing that I like:

Hybrid marketing, as the name suggests, is a combination of traditional media marketing, digital media marketing and social media marketing. Hybrid marketing does not rely on a single ad campaign … to deliver a consistent message. It uses two-way marketing to receive greater input from consumers and uses digital media to more precisely direct messages and different demographics.”

Paul Roetzer, founder and CEO of PR 20/20, believes that hybrid firms will come to rule the marketing services world.

“These emerging firms are tech savvy, offer integrated services, hire and retain versatile talent, and profit from diversified revenue streams.

“They also build scalable infrastructures that enable them to readily adapt their business models and services to changes in technology, consumer behavior, and market demand.”

He lists five ways that hybrids will disrupt and ultimately transform the industry — number five being my favorite:

They create more accountability through measurement. Marketing executives are drowning in data, with access to endless streams of information about prospects and customers. However, data without analysis is simply noise. Leading marketing agencies turn information into intelligence, and intelligence into action. They build campaigns that consistently produce measurable outcomes, including inbound links, website traffic, leads, and sales.

Hybrid agencies are leading the shift away from arbitrary metrics, such as media impressions, reach, advertising equivalency and PR value, and are challenging their peers to deliver data and results-driven services.”

I could not say it better — my clients deserve to know how their dollars perform.

I still obsess about seeing a shark while snorkeling for golf balls in the lake.