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Modern marketer is a media multi-tasker

Somewhere out there is a marketer who does only one thing. But I’ve yet to meet him.

The range of marketing channels continues to grow, and it sometimes seems like a full-time job just to stay abreast of the options for reaching consumers and influencers, much less actually execute a program using any of them.

In the last few months, my Fast Horse agency colleagues and I have used these methods to reach people with our clients’ messages. In most cases, we used several of them in conjunction:

• YouTube videos
• E-mail campaigns
• Search engine optimization
• Trade shows
• Print op-eds
• Branded entertainment content
• Web microsites
• Social media outreach
• “Earned media” coverage in traditional print and TV
• Planned events
• Guest bookings on TV and radio shows
• Blogging
• Twitter

That’s just what I came up with off the top of my head. And I don’t think we’re at all unusual. Anybody working in today’s marketing business has to carefully consider the best methods for getting out a message.

Old media model
The choices were easier when there were fewer channels. The great old-media trifecta of print, TV and radio still can be useful, but its members are all crumbling to one degree or another. Magazines and newspapers are shutting down or slashing news hole; TV stations are cutting back on editorial and production staff in favor of infomercials; and radio (with the exception of the public variety) long ago abandoned any pretense of providing locally originated information.

The new marketing channels are full of possibilities, but they also require a long-term commitment. Starting a blog, for instance, is an effort that will pay off only if you can provide interesting and relevant content over time. You can’t expect 10,000 readers your first month. But the readers you get over time are more valuable because they’ve chosen to be there.

The same holds true for other Web-based marketing vehicles. Every company needs a strong presence on the Web, and that means more than just creating Individual brand marketing efforts may work best with separate microsites devoted to them, but you’ve got to have a plan for driving traffic to those sites.

It’s a fascinating and challenging time to be in the business. I’ve always been interested in the early days of TV, when the medium was new and people were making things up on the spot.

That’s the situation marketers face today. Old ways of doing things are giving way to the new, and the possibilities are endless for those creative enough to see them. It’s exhilarating, it’s exhausting, it’s rewarding and it’s maddening.

And it’s our business.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Bob Hussey on 03/02/2009 - 12:39 pm.

    Good stuff, John.

    In the area of public relations, there have never been so many available outlets to communicate a client’s story. With new online journals, blogs and niche websites cropping up every day, the challenge is not whether you can place an article. It’s ensuring the placement reaches the right audience.

    One can eventually foresee the merging of public relations and marketing into a single communications discipline, using all these different delivery vehicles (TV, Blogs, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) to tell our stories.

  2. Submitted by Andrew Hine on 03/02/2009 - 01:53 pm.

    How interesting that “billboards” were not mentioned as a marketing tool…

    With “the range of marketing channels continu(ing) to grow,” could it be that even professional marketers know that billboards do more societal harm than economic good? Hats off to Fast Horse if they do.


  3. Submitted by Paul Scott on 03/02/2009 - 02:19 pm.

    I understand the place for marketing, but I have personally found it troubling that marketing has blurred the lines in our media marketplace to the extent that it has. I do realize that the old venues for reaching an audience are closing — 30 second spots and print ads. But in its place, the new media landscape that you describe is an increasingly indifferentiated mishmash of paid and non paid messages. Maybe I am naive about how the world works, but what is the public interest of a private business “placing” an article in a portal somewhere that viewers undoubtedly view as an organic expression of some editor’s news judgment?

    Kids teens and young adults are of course the great pioneers in the new media landscape, and it is interesting to me how they now go onto YouTube (or find these messages embedded in their text inflow, or even in their interactions with influencers who are really just paid plants in bars or on the playground) and, if the marketer is savvy enough, have no way of discerning if they are seeing or hearing something created to amuse, inform or sell. To me it is important that the viewer have that information when appraising a message.(Or a contact with another human being.)

    The biggest offender in this practice, of course, and I am not saying I understand your position on this issue, is product placement. What started with a few Reese’s Pieces in ET’s mouth have become the literally thousands of placements that adorned the first six shows of American Idol last season. Or in video games. Or on school materials. Or in swag handed out to popular kids. Or in “editorial” copy on news shows, especially entertainment news shows. You get where I’m going, right? Does it trouble you? Or am I being Puritan about all of this…

  4. Submitted by Paul Scott on 03/02/2009 - 03:02 pm.

    O the mind is swirling…It just occurred to me, slow witted fellow that I am, that this blog here on Minnpost may actually perform the primary function of marketing the author’s marketing firm? Which I am sure is a fine firm and the author is a fine fellow but it strikes me as more proof of the confusing 8 million tentacled monster that is marketing today.

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