Arianna Huffington offers a thought-provoking analogy to help rethink the endless debate between new and old media. I don’t usually just slap quotes up as blog posts, but I thought this one was worth sharing (thanks to Bev Crandon for flagging it):
The shifting dynamic between the forces of print and online reminds me of the relationship between Sarah Conner and the T-101 in the Terminator movies. At first, the visitor from the future (digital) seemed intent on killing Sarah (print). But as the relationship progressed and the sequels unspooled, the Terminator became Sarah and her son’s one hope for salvation. Today, you can almost hear digital media (which for some reason has a thick Austrian accent) saying to print: “Come with me if you want to live!”
(OK, now your turn. What does the liquid-metal-cop-guy represent?)
At the New England Newspaper Ad Executives Association conference in Newport, RI, last week, I attended presentations by two major advertisers: General Motors Planworks and Target.
Each came at the topic in an entirely different way: GM is looking for efficiency and accountability. Target is looking for creative ways to push its hugely successful brand (Target now claims to be the most recognized brand on the planet.) I’m way oversimplifying, but point is, they couldn’t have been more different.
But some themes tied them together:
- Newspapers (heck, anyone selling local advertising) must be the experts in their local marketplace. They must continually grow and share that expertise with their customers. That’s not “added value” anymore. It’s core.
- Better get serious about audience measurement, both print and online. Because advertisers are getting serious, and they’ll come looking for refunds if numbers fall.
- Customer service is critical. Make it a priority. Treat all customers well, but don’t be afraid to treat your top customers like royalty.
- Print matters. A lot. Target was playing my song (see my blog entry about all that paper in the mailbox) about the importance of flopping a Sunday flyer onto the coffee table. I wonder if most ad execs get that. Yes, we’re all about digital, but the scarcity of attention span means that getting an offer in front of somebody’s eyeballs is going to get harder and harder. Why on earth would a publisher try to “save money” by putting that flyer online? And why isn’t home delivery much more of a priority at any cost?
Most of all, listening to advertisers has got to be job 1. Any ad exec in that audience who didn’t come away with an altered viewpoint … just wasn’t paying attention.