But my mornings have transformed over the years. While the coffee and pastries remain a cornerstone of my morning ritual, it’s the media opportunities that I review that have changed. I’ve been listening to print advertising sales reps pining over the death of their medium for years; it’s nothing new. But newspaper publishers nationwide have fought valiantly against their own demise, and done a great job embracing online display media and paid advertising. Many publications have simply thrown in the towel, shut down the printers and gone digital, coasting into town on the fumes of online advertising dollars. The New York Times has been threatening to do this for years. But the papers with the ability to adapt quickly to an ever-changing media landscape are the ones who still thrive in the world of news and the ad dollars that come with it. Others have shriveled up and died, left for dead in the flooded abyss of newsprint. And while electronic communications have transcended the print realm for years, the sad slow decline seems to be moving along much faster these days.
Tablets and digital readers are being released at alarming rates, not to mention the apps that make every day life easy, fun and exciting. According to Rupert Murdoch, the development of media apps could very well be the one thing that saves news & journalism. But its not the journalism itself that we’re talking about, it’s the newspapers continuing to grease up the printer that is of concern here.
I’ve replaced my morning newspaper with the USA Today app on my iPad. I shop online for furniture, golf clubs and electronics. And when its time to cozy up to a good book I simply make an iBook purchase and start reading. We live in a world of instant gratification and consumer behavior is now built around accessibility.
Oh, the times they are a-changin’.
So the question now becomes “where do I spend my limited advertising dollars in a slow recovering economy?”
Print publishers everywhere have been attempting to adapt their sales models by unveiling new and improved websites, partnering with web portals and search engines like Yahoo! to create behavioral targeted marketing campaigns for their advertisers. All very impressive and valuable to brands everywhere. But what happens when new and traditional paid advertising begins to lose ground to earned media? It took years for marketers to figure out how to monetize social media. And now that we’ve done that (sort of), earned media and “social branding” have emerged as viable strategies. Twitter and Facebook have come a long way with their search functions allowing businesses to set up Fan Pages and Twitter accounts that, with the right mix of information and keyword-friendly posts, can be easily found.
Earned media is an approach that is founded on promotional marketing, ambassador programs and loyal followers. So your customers now have the ability to write “You Suck” on your Facebook Page. Take it with a grain of salt. Your social media followers have now become a focus group that you don’t have to pay. Listen to them, learn from them, adapt and Wow them at every turn. The idea of “building your brand” will never die, but the execution will always be evolving. Don’t worry, it won’t cost you a penny. And that, my friends, is what has print publishers cringing.
Some newspapers have finally caught up with and adapted to consumer behavior and remained the marketing “middle-man” for brands and their customers. But the newest trend in advertising these days has become the development of apps that allow us to shop in virtual stores, find the hottest deals and the closest restaurants. Information is now at our fingertips 24 hours a day all without the help of magazines, newspapers and postcards. The message to print? App-up or go home. And even when they do so, they're battling in the trenches with other apps that challenge the very content of their app. BBC America and USA Today are among the most highly downloaded free apps in the United States. So they dodged that first digital bullet. Sadly, I’m afraid earned media is a bullet that won’t be so easily avoided.
Publishers and media companies aren’t going to just fade into the sunset, but watching them beg, borrow and steal for a piece of the pie should prove entertaining for a while. At least until I’m done with my coffee and fritter.
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