There is much talk about all of the new media options, including in my own blogs. I believe it is important to recognize the new opportunities, and to embrace them even.
However, what we are increasingly finding out, is that all the options available make for a “re-distributed” mix but not an overall replacement. Just like in the past, the advent of television did not eliminate radio altogether – rather it added another option for advertisers.
Likewise, the internet and various social media options have not replaced the other existing forms of communication. For sure we have a much more complex mix to evaluate and spread our message over. We must also re-purpose the message in different ways – adapting to the restrictions of each, and becoming part of the discussion as opposed to talking to an audience. But even still we are beginning to see that even the “old school” forms of communicating are relevant and can be used to direct an audience to the newer forms.
Take for instance printed catalogs. By far and away, the printed direct mail catalog drives more consumers to a given website. Most all of the orders are actually placed on the internet, but it is the catalog that prompts the online purchase. Many non-profit organizations have found expanded giving on-line as well – and yet the printed appeal acts the same as a direct mail catalog – it prompts the donor to visit the website.
Similarly, we can be sure that in the future there will be other new forms of media to utilize. When they come on board, not everything will change. The newness will wear off and the real challenge will be for an organization to evaluate how best to distribute their marketing dollars amongst the many options.