Saying that there are many more media
choices available today to business marketers than in times past is the
understatement of the decade. The major impacts include Facebook gaining 350
million members, more than the total U.S. population, the increasing popularity
of Twitter and the impact Linkedin has had on many organizations. Plus, let’s
not forget the impact of advertising, direct marketing and public relations.
Between all of these it has become difficult to know which to use to grow your
business: print versus online?

When asked “Which of the following
will have the most impact on the success of your company or brand over the next
” one marketing method was cited as the method executives believed
would provide the most bang:

  1. Direct Marketing    48%
  2. Advertising           18%
  3. Public Relations    17%
  4. Social Media         10%

What’s most revealing is Social Media was
at the bottom of the list. I think these results follow many situations that
have something new in them but the tried and true product holds for the
majority of those in that situation.

Take the iPod. It took several years for it to gain
popularity. Contrast it to the iPhone that took off immediately. What made the
difference? Was it the media they chose to introduce the two products? Actually
no, Apple used pretty much the same media. What made the difference is it’s
much more difficult to create a brand category than it is to add a new product
to an existing category. iPod introduced the idea of holding your entire music
and photo library in your hand and that idea created a new brand category.
iPhone revolutionized smart phones, but
didn’t create the category given Blackberry’s longstanding leadership position
in that space.

The conversation regarding print versus online is endless. What is most important for companies to know is what their best value proposition is to offer their best customers and that they are continuously communicating it to them. If direct marketing is how they would like to communicate then do that. If they prefer Twitter, then, well, you know what to do. At the end of the day, if we’re wise, we serve at the best wishes of our customers.