Why don’t businesses understand that “media” has changed

Fifteen years ago, I worked at a media buying house – where we helped clients place their advertising in a variety of traditional media sources.

  • We bought the space
  • We placed the ads
  • We billed the client

In 2017, if you are still doing that for your company, you need a quick course on how the media industry has changed – and what options are now available to you. Alternatively, while I don’t remotely support the content of his messages, Trump is currently giving a master class in the use of media for marketing purposes (based entirely on how alternate media sources enable you to reach your target audience without the use of traditional media coverage).

I have given hour-long seminars on the way media plans need to be structured in today’s business world, but there is a need to keep this brief to make sure that I can deliver the essential point that:

“Media has changed, and as a result, businesses have more power to control their messages than ever before”.

I will start by stating the obvious. In this marketplace, there are more vehicles and more channels available to advertisers and marketers, and many of these channels are not controlled by traditional media outlets. Access to these outlets do not require a media buyer or a sales rep – they are readily available to all marketers.

In saying that, the dilemma for marketers has flipped…

We have gone from minimal options controlled by a small group to a massive number of options with seemingly no control.

How do you choose what to do? Here’s a brief thought process that may help you to marshall your businesses resources (time, personnel and money):

  1. Earned media – this is the coverage that you can generate from the activities, events, launches, and promotions that you will be delivering over the course of your calendar year. If you don’t have specific events – can you create them in a compelling way that will attract coverage? Plan these activities throughout the fiscal year to ensure that you maintain your presence in the marketplace.
  2. Owned media – no one knows your industry better than you. You monitor content on your industry from other sources and you have your own opinions. Write these down, create posts and stories that tell the consumer what you think. Become a thought leader in your industry by having an opinion and sharing it. And make sure that “how you write” is in keeping with your company brand. Content helps SEO, and brand positioning and exposure – and it is right there in front of you. Think it is hard to keep the content flowing? Pick topic themes each month and focus on finding content related to those themes (this narrows down the process and makes the concept less daunting).
  3. Get involved in social media – use vehicles appropriate to your business (not sure what those might be – ask us). Use social media to build a following to engage with your clients or potential clients. Use social media to support and promote both your earned media activities and your content – this helps to get this content to a broader audience.
  4. Bought media – now take a look at your media and marketing plan. You have already blocked out your activities in the first three categories and they will keep you relevant in the community. Identify holes in the calendar, or times where you feel you need to heavy-up this exposure to support an activity or an event or a sale. Buy the appropriate advertising to meet that need and to reach the desired audience. In preparing this area, consider all bought media options, including traditional media, social media marketing, online search advertising, and online third party vehicles.

In 2000, only the fourth category on this list was readily available to marketers – and the options within that category were more limited than they are today.

Today, we plan the fourth category only after we have considered the cost effective, measurable, and reach-efficient elements outlined in categories 1-3.

If you are still defaulting to buying traditional media without considering the other elements outlined here – we need to talk.