Traditional Media and the Buzz Lightyear Effect

The decline of traditional media has been well documented and highly lamented in recent years. But, if more proof is needed of the shift away from old-school mass media as marketing channels, look at the results of a recent study by Aquent and the American Marketing Association. Responses from 2,600 marketing executives send yet more signals of the demise of traditional media. In fact, the top five channels that will see a decline in focus from marketers this year are:
  1. Newspapers: 32%
  2. Consumer Magazines: 28%
  3. Radio: 24%
  4. Trade Magazines: 22%
  5. Television: 21%
 If these communication channels are going to get less play, what will take their places? Perhaps not surprising is that mobile marketing and social media will experience the largest increases in focus among marketers at 82% and 76%, respectively. The shift in focus from traditional media to digital channels reflects the expansion of tools available in the marketer's toolbox, but what does it say about the future of traditional media?

Instead of writing obituaries for newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV, a more appropriate response to these trends is to understand that traditional media is not being permanently replaced by digital communication channels. What is transpiring reminds me of what happens in one my favorite movies, Toy Story. Woody's status as Andy's favorite toy is jeopardized when Andy receives a Buzz Lightyear toy for his birthday. Woody is no longer the go-to toy as Andy is enamored with the bells and whistles in Buzz's repertoire. In the end, Woody and Buzz co-exist to make Andy a happy child (not to mention go on to make two more movies and a lot of money for Disney and Pixar).

Like Sheriff Woody, traditional media may have lost some of its prominence but will not be replaced by the shiny new toy that is digital marketing. Like tools in a toolbox, traditional media and digital channels have certain strengths and capabilities. Marketers are wise to use all resources at their disposal to build their brand and manage customer relationships. If Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear can work together, so can traditional and digital media.

Marketing Charts - "Marketers Say They're Shifting Focus Away from Traditional Media"

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