Before You Pronounce Traditional Advertising Dead Check For Its Social Media Pulse.

People love to pronounce things dead. In fact, the phrase “is dead” returns over 226 million Google search results. However, most media and marketing that has been pronounced dead, doesn’t actually die, it just changes into something else. Radio was pronounced dead when TV came along. Instead radio became a valuable local and promotional medium. I still have the cover of WIRED magazine hanging in my office that pronounced Apple computer dead in the 1990’s.

Many have pronounced traditional advertising dead as digital and social media have increased in usage and influence. In 2013 a Harvard Business Review article said, “Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.” The author’s evidence? More people find information about products/services on their own through the internet and social media. CMO’s lack credibility and can’t prove business growth. It doesn’t make sense to hire 3rd parties to try and sell your products for you. (I have paraphrased Bill Lee, please check out his arguments yourself).

From the evidence I gathered I see a different story. Instead of death, social media seems to be giving traditional advertising new life and this new life is growing evidence for the importance of integration of marketing methods. Instead of replacing the old, we should be including it. Even in my Social Media Marketing class focused on social media, I make it clear that it should never exist on its own. It is not a replacement for traditional marketing, but should be integrated into traditional efforts. But perhaps I am biased because I received my masters degree in IMC (Integrated Marketing Communication) so lets look at the numbers and you can decide for yourself.

According to Ipsos research released in 2013, the number one way to create awareness around new brands and products is still with TV ads followed by friends and family and then the Internet. Nearly a third of consumers also turn to magazine ads (31%), social networking sites (25%), entertainment (TV shows/movies; 22%) and direct mail (21%). Even in the younger 18-34 group, the Internet becomes the primary source of discovery (59%), but TV is still third (48%).

Nielson data reports surveys of online consumers indicating the more influential forms of advertising (ones they always or sometimes take action on). People I know and opinions posted online are number one (84%) and two (70%), TV comes in at third (68%). Ads in newspapers are still number five (65%), magazine ads are eighth (62%) and billboards are just out of the top ten (57%). These charts say “integration” to me, not “death.”

Brands that are integrating are seeing better results. Deloitte research reports Some 86% of US consumers (aged 14+) claim to always or almost always multitask while watching TV. Almost half of Millennials this year say they use a social network while watching TV. The brands that know this are acting on it and benefiting from integration. For example, combined print advertising with online has been shown to increase intention to take action by 85%. And combined use of Twitter has also delivered greater results for traditional TV by increasing awareness, favorability and intent.

I am still a social media fan and highly suggest that all brands need to jump into social media marketing. But in your enthusiasm for the new, don’t leave behind the old. Traditional advertising is still alive and kicking and gets a boost from social media marketing. The best marketing efforts combine both in IMC fashion. Do you agree or do you see a flat line for traditional?


What An Old Summer Song Can Teach Us About Social Media.

My father in-law has a pool and a jukebox. So gratefully my family and I get to spend much of our summers swimming and listening to rock from the 50s & 60s. One of our favorite tunes is “Those Lazy Crazy Days of Summer” by Nat King Cole.

“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer.” Nat King Cole makes a great point. Summers are different and our social media plans should reflect that change.

Summer has some big time holidays and events. Nicole Karlis of Social Media Today says to plan your strategies around holidays like Wimbledon, Independence Day, World Cup, and Labor Day. This makes a lot of sense, because these will be trending topics during the summer as people search to plan holiday events or are searching for updates on the big sport competitions of the summer. Some have seen impressive results such as increasing organic search traffic by 20% in 2 months.

Summer moves at a different pace. Robin Neifield of ClickZ tells us that we should do more than connect to the summer holidays. We can also tap into the changes in behaviors and shifts in priorities. Consumers respond differently in summer when their priorities and schedules have shifted and this should impact the messaging and promotions you send out. In the summer people read more, socialize more, are outdoors more, eat out more, work less, and travel more. Your consumer is changing their searching, viewing, and surfing habits. Have you adjusted or are you running the same strategy year around?

Some brands and products go well with summer. These brands create campaigns around the season. Last summer Lays Potato Chips did this by celebrating “Making Summers Perfects for 75 Years.” The summer theme came with summer content of 75 models of summer imagery made from potato chip bags posted on Facebook and Twitter. It also came with a summer promotion encouraging fans to share their summer pictures for a chance to win a $75 gift card.

What is your social media summer strategy? Have you leveraged the main summer holidays and sporting events, shifted your messaging and promotions for summer search and schedules, or tied your brand into a summer themed campaign? Just because we’re “Rolling out the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” doesn’t mean your social media has to go on hiatus.