at the intersection of brands, media and culture

The problem with digital media.

In Uncategorized on January 30, 2009 at 7:49 am

Or perhaps more appropriately titled, “The problem with people who work in digital media.”

Digital is a fantastic medium for doing some really interesting and creative things. The outstanding question though is whether it is indeed the equivalent of discovering a new galaxy or whether it is more like finding a pair of pants that you thought you had lost.

Follow me here for a bit. See, from my perspective digital media isn’t any different than traditional media in how consumers interact with it. For marketing it still breaks down to a few fundamentals:
• the appropriateness for the audience
• appropriateness for the brand
• the ability to get a message across
• and drive engagement and purchase

Within this realm of digital media we also have social media. Still conducted online the entire industry has been created by providing socially relevant tools and paying for them with advertising. But then marketers decided that they wanted to use these tools as well. But one can argue that they still don’t quite know what they are doing with these tools. They like to say that they are creating “brand engagement,” and some are, but others are attaching social media to existing plans like Frankenstein’s limbs. Twitter Wolf Blitzer anyone?

But on to the issue of “digital/social media” purveyors. I’ve sat through one to many conferences that feel like religious revivals. The self-appointed guru of media stands up, or more appropriately slouches, and says that “Obama is recreating the Presidency by reaching directly out to the people through YouTube” without taking time to understand that this has been going on since FDR started his fireside chats. That the only thing that has changed is the medium, not how it is being used.

Likewise, Razorfish has published a paper on how social media is influencing purchase behavior that is getting a lot of buzz. When I read the paper it seems to suggest that actually social media works just like regular media. Perhaps that the whole industry is still in the self validation stage and will start talking about real differences soon. I can only hope that it does and that it gets some intelligent voices in the mix as its champions.

hat tip: propagationplanning.com

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