Media Fundamentals

I have to wonder what Gutenberg would think of the Internet. But then I also have to wonder what Ed Murrow and Fred Friendly or Bill Paley would think as well. Let’s see, Free Press, high levels of shared information, everyone is a publisher and eyeballs are everything.

This nostalgic look at media is for a reason. If you studied or have practiced the art of broadcasting you know that the fundamental tenets of advertising are based in logic not in the technology. Since the early days of Web 1.0, there has been a tendency to throw aside the baselines of media for the sake of "Breaking Paradigms" or some such thing. “The crash of Web. 1.0” proved the fundamentals have a sound logic. Now with Web 2.0, we hear such things again. So let’s walk down the road of understanding what advertising is.

The goal of advertising is to connect the buyer and seller. I want to sell you something and you may want to buy it. BUT, you might not know you want to buy it. So first, I need to identify who will want to buy the product or service; "The Target Demographic." Then, I need to find a way to reach them; Media, Radio, Television, Newspaper, Yellow Pages, Magazines and Billboards; the list goes on and on. Then I need to build a plan to educate, inspire, motivate and capture the buyers,” The Media Plan".

The science of media actually goes much deeper than this. Do I want/need to establish a Brand identity? Broadcast Media such as Radio and Television are used to target this market segment. How do I reach those who know my brand but don't know who/where to get the product locally? Directional Media and B2B Media such as Yellow Pages and Trade Publications fill this void.

The first mistake made with the Internet is to try to treat it is as a media. IT ISN'T! The Internet (The Web) is a conduit, a transport. It is NOT, a media to its own. Look at the market segments we just highlighted. It can be a distribution channel for newspapers, radio and television and at the same time host a Yellow Pages database.

If you are a media property in the existing space, make sure you are defining your Internet Demographics in the same context as your parent company. If you strategically want to venture off into another market space, then segregate the two products. Otherwise your sales channel will fail on or the other.

Blogging, Web 2.0, , are media trade tools. They do not create a new media universe. Content drives traffic (eyeballs). Traffic determines demographics. Demographics determine audience reach. Reach determines sales. If I want to buy a pizza, it’s not going to be because there is a new widget on a blog. It will be because advertising messages stimulated my cortex and I picked up the phone (or used the widget). GET IT? GOT IT? GOOD.

Editor's Note:  The post was first pubished on 06/1/2008

About Sprawlgeek.
A Seasoned Technology Visionary possessing a deep understanding of technology and business processes.

Doug has accumulated over 35 years of experience in the technology and media markets. His broad career has ranged from leading Research and Development work for a 300+ million dollar company to an E-Government startup. His efforts have been recognized by major trade associations as well as Tier 1 clients.

Doug is now a private consultant and continues to provide his insights to the industry.