Here are some of the more common things you probably hear about New Media, Digital Marketing and Social Media:
- I don't watch TV anymore... let alone watch the commercials.
- I don't read the newspaper anymore.
- I only use things like Google Reader and other RSS-enabled tools to get my news.
- Everyone I know is texting.
- We must have an iPhone app for our Digital Marketing program.
- I think Blogging is dead.
- Everyone I know is on Twitter.
- We must have a presence on Facebook.
How many successful businesses and brands are there in the marketplace right now, that have all but ignored most of the statements above?
The answer: a lot.
The reason we tend to think that these channels are the best (or worst) is because of personal opinion. "I have a PVR... I never watch TV commercials anymore." Therefore, nobody watches TV commercial anymore? Agreed, the penetration rate of PVRs and their growing popularity is definitely causing fewer and fewer people to watch television commercials, but the advertising opportunity - depending on your brand strategy and goals - is still there. For every person who doesn't watch a commercial anymore there may well be ten (probably more) who do... maybe even a couple of them actually enjoy the commercials (don't laugh, infomercials are hotter than ever).
Our own values are not the values of the world.
Deep down, we all wish that everyone was like us. Deep down, we all wish that people did the exact same things that we do. Deep down, we hope that we're not alone in our quirky uses of media, technology and how we interact with one another. Deep down, we have to start accepting the fact that it has little to do with what we, personally, do and much more to do with what the target market for our brands are up to.
As popular as the iPhone is, most people still don't have one (or any smart phone for that matter) and - even if they do - they have not downloaded applications or even customized their mobile experience yet.
This past January, Apple announced that their App Store had crossed the 500 million mark in terms of downloads. While this is an incredible number, it should be peppered with with the very real reality that the majority of the mass population can hardly wrap their heads around how to download a ringtone to their mobile phone, let alone embrace and understand the power of mobile applications.
People are not stupid, slow or lazy.
New media channels take time to be adopted. As sold-out as the Amazon Kindle 2 is, the majority of heavy readers in the United States do not have the e-book reader. These are the same people that probably still turn to the New York Times every Sunday to see what new literary adventures are available, and then head over to a retailer like Barnes & Noble or Borders to pick up their books.
And, for every person doing that, how many people subscribe to the RSS feed, check out their news in Google Reader and then hop over to Amazon.com to either order the book or download it immediately on to their Kindle 2?
It turns out that this is the new reality of media fragmentation.
Maybe it's not the way I do it. Maybe it's not the way you do it. Maybe it's not the way everybody else, statistically, does it.
Maybe there are many new ways of consuming media. Assuming that the way I do it, is the way everybody does it, or the way everybody does it, must be the way it is, is slowly slipping away. Maybe the best way to figure this all out is to have your own specific brand strategy and just go with the directions that make the most sense to your consumers. Even if that means working some of the more traditional channels (that you don't use) while dismissing the newer, shinier objects (that you, personally, swear by).
When we put our own usage and personal assumptions into the Marketing equation, we may well be hurting our overall efforts.