I have a retail client I’ve been working with on a digital content plan, and I recently recommended he implement some broadcast media. My client was kind of stunned . . . “I thought you were all about digital content, and that it’s so superior, and so on?”
“Yes”, I replied, “I believe it is superior, for both marketers and users. It’s more measurable, you can control the message, it’s a two-way medium . . .” And so forth – reiterating all the things we all know about digital media as a communications medium. If it were inferior, from a communications perspective, it wouldn’t be so popular with consumers. Totally logical, right?
But – for building awareness with new customers, sometimes broadcast is the right tool. Sometimes direct mail is the right tool. Sometimes pickpockets are the right tool.
The “right” or “superior” medium is not where the debate should be – it all works if it’s done well . . . but it’s not working because of the medium itself. It’s because of what you’re putting on it.
TV can be highly engaging. I’ve seen dimensional direct mail pieces that were so cool people saved them, put them up on bookshelves and kept them for years and years. A well-written radio spot can transport you to places inside your mind in ways that no other medium can. Forgive me if I start to sound like a broken record – but, forget about the medium – it’s the content. It’s what you do with it, it’s not the medium itself. It’s the tweets that are driving engagement, it’s not Twitter.
You’ll notice in the research methodology, the test is not actually about broadcast media, it’s about a broadcast approach to social media versus an engagement approach. This is where many online marketers stub their toes. Lots of folks tend to take a broadcast approach to a medium that is clearly built for engagement. This is like direct mailing 20,000 people the same CD with the same :30 radio spot on it. Why would you do that?
There is clearly a big – HUGE – difference in creating an engaging, well-considered message versus broadcasting an announcement. Most marketing departments aren’t set up to deal with the actual work of engagement – making relevant content, monitoring your online platforms, moderating and measuring and optimizing . . . and it’s a lot of actual work! Unfortunately most marketing services providers aren’t set up to help much, either, beyond strategic consulting.
But, we are. We make the content that makes digital marketing work.
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