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The Media is Not the Message

There are some old-fashioned marketing words called "research" and "targeting". They help you find out who you want to reach and what their interests are.

Run away screaming next time an agency tells you that you need Facebook, MySpace, viral videos, or a blog.   If an agency is selling you a presence on one of these sites without proving that your customers are already there, then you are being sold their current hot product — not what you need.

Social media are tools to start a conversation. They are tools to extend a conversation.

They are not an advertising tactic. 

The correct first step is decide who you need to reach. Then find out what media they use.  They (and only then) gently and tastefully join them.

It’s about the people, not the web site they use, or a vendor pushing the next hot thing.

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  1. Vicki August 6, 2008 at 12:45 pm #

    Right on! Executives who do not use these Web2.0 tactics think they will solve all of their marketing and communications problems … for free…with no plan…executed by interns. So they are easy pray for Web2.0 salespeople.
    The medium is not the message; but it does shape it.

  2. Jeffrey Simons August 6, 2008 at 2:25 pm #

    It’s amazing to me how many people put the cart before the horse. “I need to be on YouTube” today is just like “I need to have a website” was a decade ago. My first question, whether it’s about new product development, marketing, advertising or branding, is “Who are you trying to reach?” My second question is “Where are they most likely to want to listen to your story?” Answers to those two questions will help you choose tactics, mediums, messages, product characteristics and more. Without those answers, though, you might as well throw your money away… like on a Super Bowl ad.

  3. Frank Green August 13, 2008 at 1:36 pm #

    First, it’s the “media ARE . . .” “Media” is plural. A medium is a soothsayer or one of the media such as print. And don’t pay attention to what some artistes are doing to the word.
    Second, has anyone read Marshall McLuhan and have the faintest idea of what he was talking about? It’s time we all reread him.

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