Marketing Strategy

Traditional Media Marketing is Not Dead, It’s Just Dying

A quick search on any search engine will show two schools of thought about traditional marketing media. Either 1) traditional marketing is dead, or 2) traditional marketing is not dead… yet. I would say that I’m a believer of the latter. Traditional marketing is not dead, it’s just dying.

With the rise of social media (Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) came the beginnings of the demise of traditional media (magazines, newspapers, TV, radio.) More advertisers are moving their marketing budgets from offline activities to online activities. A report by eMarketer projects that the online ad spending will continue to grow at a rate of ~1% from where it is today in 2009, at 9.9%, to 15.2% by 2013.

That begs the question of what affect this has on the media outlets that have always survived by garnering a large portion of a corporate marketing budget?

The Bleeding of Traditional Media

I call this the “bleeding” of traditional media. It was something that they actually saw coming, but seem to never guess would affect them and their $1,000,000 one page print ads. Traditional media marketing was always about hitting numbers. The number of impressions, the number of viewers, consistency, and frequency. Hit as many people as you can with your message and that will translate into a certain percentage of consumers converting to customers.

The problem is we’ve been marketed and sold to death! We’ve actually learned to AVOID ads. We walk, read, listen and look right past them! There are all sorts of reports and studies talking about “ad avoidance” from the likes of AdWeek, Huffington Post, and even the World Advertising Research Center! You people with Tivo, you know what I mean! Fast-forwarding past the ads! Shame on you!

But hello! This is the financial foundation of traditional media! So what are they to do?

Learn to Adapt or Die

Just like TV did not kill radio and video recorders did not replace TV shows, traditional marketing will not be replaced by the likes of social media marketing… unless they do not learn to adapt. It’s time for traditional media to move into the next phase of their existence. What that is we do not currently know, but what I do believe is that there is still a use of traditional media. They just need to figure out how to combine the concepts we love about social media: connecting and forming communities, relationships built on mutual trust, openness and honesty consistently communicated, and always looking for feedback that is applied not just requested.

These mediums are still great tools for connecting and disseminating information to large audiences of people. They just need to learn how to become a part of our communities of influence rather than trying to be the global dictator of them. So it’s learn to adapt or death is just around the corner.

What are your thoughts?

So what do you think? Do you think traditional media is dead? Dying?

How do you think they could adapt to form a sustainable medium?

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  • The study is not quite relevant because the traditional media is clearly losing. That's why some countries spent more money on online ads than television ads. And marketers here now starting to do the same.

  • Thanks for your feedback Jimmy, but interestingly enough, I'd have to disagree. I what we're talking about in this article is ever more relevant as we've seen major publications like the New York Times, Inc, and Fast Company (along with many others) launch fully digital versions of their print publications. Even Newsweek recently announced that they've printed their last physical issue December of last year (2012) in a move to go fully digital.

    The thing is... they're still "traditional marketing" in the sense that you're still running an ad with a single publication, as opposed to the more modern "new media" way of using social networks, online ad networks, SEO, and the like.

    So, what's cool is, traditional media marketing STILL isn't dead... and it MAY not yet be dying (we've not heard many - if any - full reports about the performance of these new digital publications.) Also, some industries are still seeing their greatest gains from ads in these publications and they're even more excited to learn that they have a digital "counterpart" that garners them even more awareness, views, and traffic! The Inc and Fast Company iPad apps are EXACT duplicates of the printed publication - I know as that's how I read them as as subscriber... so those full-page ads are helping these brands reach the physical readership as well as the technologically-savvy digital crowds!

    Once could argue because of that, that these publications have an even greater opportunity ahead of them not yet realized... as long as they adapt... which is what this article was all about!

    Hence the continued relevance.

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