Saturday, September 17, 2022

The sky is falling!!!
The sky is falling on all Traditional media.
Get out while you can.

So one panicked industry colleague warned.

Traditional Media – you know the kind, Radio, and Television, and that printed stuff like Newspapers and Magazines- all Toast. Oh, and don’t even get me started on Outdoor. They are all going the way of the dinosaur.

Such klaxon warnings have been sounding for decades. 
I am not for a moment suggesting we resist change. It is the only constant. All our efforts to stop the tide will only have us swept away in the undertow. Change is necessary. It disturbs complacency and challenges us to get more out of ourselves and our communication.

Our article headline New and Improved was a grammatically challenging 
expression in hundreds of ads. In our media buffet today, we have truly some New platforms to showcase products. Happily, many of the incumbent platforms have elevated their game to become Improved.
At this writing we find ourselves deeply immersed in Digital everything it seems.

Perhaps, instead of the Chicken Little panic button, we acknowledge the 
evolution of media. The changes in technology, the proliferation of Social Media channels, and the changes in consumer tastes, demands, and capabilities. But – interestingly, not in human behaviour.
There is no question the ‘Internet’ has long ago eclipsed ‘in its infancy stage’ and now is a major player in local and global communications.

What disturbs me is the sudden desperate abandonment of the tried and true and successful media en masse, in favour of a multi-faceted vehicle which is spinning off madly in all directions. I’ve heard it called ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’ in some corners History is littered with ‘the next thing’ which was supposed to cannibalize everything that preceded it.

A brief timeline:
When Johannes Gutenburg made his first Printing Press in 1450, it
revolutionized communication as multiple copies of news and information could be spread faster. Newspapers would begin to arrive in earnest through the next century.

When Samuel Morse sent the first Telegraph in 1844, traditionalists of
the day feared all print messages would be lost to this newfangled wireless technology that relied on dots and dashes.

When Mr. Marconi had Transatlantic signal success in 1901 with what
would become Radio, pundits at that time feared print and telegraph would be rendered obsolete.

Television was first successfully demonstrated in San Francisco on
Sept. 7, 1927. The system was designed by, Philo Taylor Farnsworth, a 21- year-old inventor. He had lived in a house without electricity until he was 14. But full-scale commercial television broadcasting did not begin in the United States until 1947.

The mid 1950’s- deemed the Golden Age of Television, became the
foundation for advertisers and networks to ultimately reach a nearly global audience. The prevailing attitude became one of scoffing at all those archaic pioneer media who came before them.

Sitting in the weeds was the development of technology that would
lead to the launch of the Personal Computer as mass-market consumer
electronic device in 1977. Clearly this new device was going to obliterate everything in its path and there would soon be no need for print as we’d have a paperless office.

Certainly, no need for magazines and TV’s and radios since the ‘Personal’ computer was the composite of all these vehicles and more. Today we are standing on the shoulders of these media Giants. All these pioneering breakthroughs bring us to a Digital Universe scarcely imagined by our ancestors.

I stagger at the intensity of the development and commend such forward thinking and bravery. But I rail at the notion that ‘Traditional’ media is dead. These players have and will evolve. Their places in the arena of platforms will change. They must. They were once the lead character. Now they share the stage. They remain vital cast members to your success.

Do not confine yourself to a silo of ‘Traditional’ or ‘Digital’ thinking.
They are ALL media tools. All marketing vehicles. Each of them carrying the freight of the sales message in differing but supportive ways. Truly I urge you to not handcuff yourself. Or to wage a media campaign with only one media. Not everyone that you market to is like you. Your campaign needs the diversity, the integration, the potency that only the combined powerhouses of history and future can deliver today.

Today, more than 570 years since Mr. Gutenburg’s printing press success, you can still print a copy of this page, or thousands of others- right on your own desk. Or simply store it Digitally forever…. until the next technological revolution.

About the Author
Dennis Kelly
Dennis Kelly is President of First Impressions Media provding media buying and planning services.
About Me
Guest Blogger
This is a guest column for the COPA judges so they can share some of their wisdom with the industry. The COPA Judges are the who's who of the publishing industry in Canada.  COPA Judging Panel Link 
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