Media Mutters

Media ain’t what it used to be … thank God.

The internet has made everyone a publisher, and as such has completely rearranged from where information and power emit. Dead is the quaint era when all info rained like fetid manna from centralized sources. Today you, the marketing ground workers, have seemingly endless avenues for promoting your products, your brand and your profits.

Which is why some of you have been driven to drink (though for a few it was just a short stroll).

The reason self-medication is becoming popular in marketing circles has nothing to do with Mad Men or three martini lunches. It derives from needing to orchestrate outreach through all these media channels. Wherever such seeming chaos ensures, it is best to take a deep breath, a shot of something, and distill your options into a manageable set. In media, there are three basic categories through which you communicate to the world:

They Broadcast: This is traditional media – television, radio, newspapers, magazines – the rapidly fading Fourth Estate. Traditional media still has a place in modern marketing and is suited for when you need to cast a wide net over large tracts of market turf (product launches, corporate branding, etc.).

You Broadcast: Using content marketing, email and other means for directly connecting to target audiences. This approach is always cost effective, often targetable and, when done right, effective in promoting your stuff.

Everyone Broadcasts: Mainly social media, this is the leveraging of other people outside of traditional media to carry your messages and content to others.

What is maddening is that the means of manipulating each category is different, requiring different skills, tactics and teams. Yet common foundations – such as a consistent brand – must appear in all. Yet this rarely works for most companies. Small firms typically have one person in charge of media operations, and they are never savvy with them all. Large companies have different teams for each area of outreach, but stumble in cross-team coordination. It is never easy and never perfect.

Yet it is essential to do all three of the broadcast types, if for no other reason than your competition is already doing so.

Regardless of small or large operations, leadership and base lining consistency is the start. Small and large companies alike need to clearly document their brand, their core marketing messages, the position they wish the market to perceive them, and their communications objectives, then force reviews of all outbound activities against these documents. Small companies can outsource what they lack with in-house staff, but need to perform these documenting and enforcement steps as religiously as larger firms do with internal teams.

So put the bottle back in the desk drawer and wrap your mind around the three classes of media. When you launch any outreach, ask yourself which of the three should be involved, then breakdown the categories therein. This will sooth your aching head, shorten your work for the day and allow you to take that three martini lunch you had in mind.


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