New media use slowed by old business ideas, not old marketers

February 5, 2008 at 8:08 pm Leave a comment

Sally Saville Hodge

It’s hell getting old.

Your back aches more. It’s harder to get away with calling your growing network of wrinkles “laugh lines.” And popular wisdom holds that you become so mired in tradition that you’re not keeping up with the changing world.

These days, the lines separating old dogs like me from the young Turks in PR and marketing are being drawn in media – traditional versus new. MarketingPilgrim’s Janet Driscoll Miller states it pretty bluntly: Most of the marketers she knows over 40, she writes, don’t understand even the basics of online marketing. And she cites Mike Grehan at Clickz to further support her position that most PR firms aren’t bringing new technologies to their clients.

Oh, if it were just so simple as the generation gap at work.

Here’s what this dinosaur has observed after many years in business.

First, there’s a lot of inertia out there. If clients and corporate bosses aren’t pushing their marketing and PR teams to be more than merely order-takers, to be thinking creatively about new and traditional tools to help move the business forward, then they aren’t going to step out of their comfort zones. Everyone knows traditional media works (never mind that studies show effectiveness is falling off). So why tinker? Where’s the incentive?

A second factor relates less to the generational thing and more to the risk aversion prevalent in our business culture. Why take a chance on something new when you know, as the saying goes, that the more s— you throw against the wall, enough of it’s bound to stick?

Ultimately, whether you’re pushing new media strategies or old, the challenge is to speak in the kind of language that decision-makers understand: These are the kinds of results you can expect.

Whether you’re a new media groupie or a traditional media Neanderthal, your challenge is to strive to learn what’s on both sides of the fence, step away from the order-taker mentality, and find a way to mesh the best of both worlds to demonstrate value to the client. It’s a challenge we all should be stepping up to meet – at whatever age.


Entry filed under: Agency Management, Integrated Marketing, New/Social Media.

Integrated marketing helps brands walk their talk Chicken. Egg. Press Release. Pitch. Which comes first? Who cares?

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