Many marketers now find themselves having more fans and followers than they know what to do with, but hey, the brand with the most digital reach wins, right? Maybe.
If marketers are so convinced that digital media is that effective, why are a lot of emailers treated as spam and remain unread, pop-ups are not clicked, and brands are not “liked” on Facebook? Why do we feel like there’s just too much clutter on our newsfeeds? Just like the clutter we used to talk about on TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, online advertising has become so rampant, that we have no choice but to click ‘close’, ‘no thank you’ and “do not remind me again’. Or simply “ignore” them and browse on.
The digital age is definitely upon us, and it would be foolish, if not unrealistic, to not jump onto the social media bandwagon. Yet, if we really think about it, no matter how amazingly creative we get with our digital media options, engaging this avidly social networking audience and building a dedicated fan base will still entail seriously skillful storytelling – our bread and butter since advertising began.
Social media has updated the way we tell our stories, bringing us within “clicking” distance of our audience, often with immediate results. If we use social media wisely, in its purest digitally efficient form, nothing can stop our stories from going further and faster than we ever expected.
With the battle for consumer attention so much faster and more furious with all the digital options available, marketers who were sitting on the fence before are now expected to go all out for social media, flinging their brands into an already brutal arena where only the most “liked” will survive. As in the early dot com era when everybody started their own websites, more and more brands will succumb to the bright lights of Google and Facebook to tap their ever growing numbers of existing and potential customers.
This industry-wide shift to digital, social and mobile channels is exciting, but to totally rule out other media formats is a bit premature. We should be able to strike a balance, and create a media environment that covers all possible consumer touchpoints.
Social media may keep on rising, but conventional media is still very much out there with our audience, telling our stories on familiar formats that continue to capture their imagination – making them laugh and cry, informing and provoking them to act on issues, tugging at their heartstrings.
In the 26th March issue of Ad Age, an article raised the question of where the first quarter ad dollars went. The answer was “digital” – no surprise there – but while social media continued to attract attention and ad budgets, the really big money went “where it has always gone, to TV. Social budget dollars are coming from print, radio and other web properties”. The article went on to point out that - “TV ad spending fell in the fourth quarter of 2011 but began to climb and stabilise in first-quarter 2012.”
TV remains a dominant medium of communication since it spans the great divide between what we used to call our audience’s economic rankings and educational levels – in a few words, everybody still watches a lot of TV. It’s still where they watch the news, movies, cartoons, music videos, reality and variety shows.
Meanwhile, these very same people enjoy keeping in touch with each other on Facebook, or laughing at those funny cat videos on YouTube. It’s the nature of the times we live in. These people may be stuck for hours in the digital world, but we can still connect with them afterwards, where we have been connecting with them for years.
Conventional media can definitely co-exist with digital media, even enhancing the audience experience in ways that we only dreamed of before. So let’s not give up so easily.
For as long as soap operas are still being followed on television, films are still being watched in cinemas, car radios are still being switched on every morning, and books, newspapers and magazines are still being read – then conventional media is alive and just as effective.