the opinions and musings behind the expertise
Out with the old and in with the new? Not so fast…
Posted: February 4, 2014
No matter the subject, there are always the requisite naysayers. You know the type: the overly aggressive talking heads whose prognostications invariably spell the demise of everything from the internal combustion engine to neckties. They are rarely, if ever, spot on in their predictions, though this doesn’t seem to stem the steady stream of their particular brand of doom and gloom.
Nowhere is this more evident than in print media. No sector has endured more of the prophets of doom’s attention than the print industry. The printed book is dead, they say. The e-reader and the tablet shall reign supreme. All shall be right in the electronic world. Amen.
Except that when you look at the numbers, the printed book is not dead. And it was never even close to being dead. A recent study by Pew indicated that since 2010, there has indeed been explosive growth in both e-reader and tablet usage to digest books and novels. And yet print book sales have been consistent during the same period. No precipitous drop off in sale volumes.
This is not to say that there aren’t challenges to the print industry as a whole – indeed there are – many in fact. From production methods to retail models, the print industry has survived on a business model that has barely changed over the past century. Now it is changing. And yes there are casualties – as there should be. Even the rarefied literary world, business is still business. The market is evolving and so are its tastes, both in what they read and how they read it. And the print industry is adapting. There will be more casualties, but then there were casualties in the heyday of print. Just like the music industry, there must be a period of turmoil before someone figures out a better way and the industry as a whole adapts. That is evolution.
So there must be a point in here somewhere. In the modern media mix, it’s easy to get caught up in what’s new and trendy, because it is fresh and different – something most of us like. But new doesn’t always mean better and in the business of marketing and advertising, delivering effective, measurable results for our clients means using what works, which does not always entail what is new or trendy. Print media may not be on the cutting edge of marketing trends but it still has its place and can be remarkably effective and cost effective as campaign assets.
Effective planning easily sorts out where your audience is and how they would prefer to relate to your company, be it ‘old’ media or ‘new’ media. Invariably it usually entails some combination of both.
Something you might want to consider the next time you read an epitaph for print media.