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Thaddeus B. Kubis

Converging Technologies and Print

By Thaddeus B. Kubis

About Thaddeus B.

Thaddeus B. Kubis is an integrated marketing communications, media convergence, and experiential marketing evangelist.

A passionate believer in the integration of all online and offline media, inter-digital integration, unified communications, the measurement and ROMI of any marketing program based on results, Thad acts as profit advocate for his myriad of clients.
 

Emerging Technology Today, Legacy Media Tomorrow

 
Coulditbethatallmedialegacyoremergingmediathatisnotyetonthetablestilloverthe horizonwillbecomeasmanypredictonesinglemediasourcethatwehaveyetto understandamediasourcethatwillallowfullytranscendentalconvergenceofmedia methodmessagerelevancedesireandresult?

Hard to understand the above statement, agreed. This mishmash of words (presented as a readable paragraph below) defines for me the current stage of communication media and their use. Every type of media—digital, legacy or otherwise—is YELLING, screaming, attacking, destroying, eating its young to reach the pinnacle and earn the title of THE CHOSEN ONE, THE CHOSEN MEDIUM.

Guess what? It ain’t going to happen.

Could it be that all media, legacy or emerging, or even media that are not yet on the table or still on the horizon, will—as many predict—become one single media source that we have yet to recognize; a media source that will be fully transcendental, convergence of method, message, relevance, desire, delivery and result?

All media and all types of media over the years have changed, morphed, converted, been altered, been destroyed, died and been reborn, been tossed aside, been condemned or been shunned. But in the end game, most media survived. Yes, they changed, but survived. Yes, they emerged with less influence, or with declining impact. But most, though not all, survived.

What ends up happening is that a new balance is found, not unlike water seeking the needed and correct level. The world does not stop spinning; the sun does not stop rising. No, it is not all that bad. People change too, and the changes people go through is what defines, decides and determines what type of media is currently “THE MEDIA” and what type of media will be “THE MEDIA” of the future.

So to all those who keep saying everything is dead if it is not digital, stop. We live in a post-digital age. Today, EVERYTHING is digital; digital has now become commonplace, a term that is, well, legacy. Digital in its current state is the 1,000 lb. gorilla in the marketing room. Digital is the same old, same old, a dated and overused term, but I still love my digital media, and, in fact, I love all my media. I still am one with my pixel-based friend, and with my help, assistance and guidance, my pixel-based friend can adapt to nearly any media, legacy or not.

What has become interesting is that the once commonplace medium called print is no longer looked at as commonplace. E-mail open rates remain static, and banner ads in some verticals are declining in popularity. Yet print is experiencing in many ways a re-birth, and I call this print “new print.” In fact, from the August 14, 2013 edition of eMarketer, the following sentence makes a lot of sense: “That’s not to say that B2B marketers are abandoning print and event-based marketing for digital avenues. In fact, digital channels still take a back seat to in-person events in substantial ways: Marketers rated face-to-face event attendance and face-to-face event sponsorship as the top two methods of developing awareness of new products and services, as well as generating targeted leads.”

Do I think that print will fully recover? No, I do not know anyone in the print business that thinks that print will get back to its pre-2007 levels. Those who think along those lines are wrong, very wrong. I think it will all change, again and again, for change is ongoing. Even today, when digital is creeping past TV and mass print, that too, as they say, will change.

The best thing for agencies, clients, marketers, magazines, printers, designers and the rest of what I call the chain of communication enablers to do is to get beyond the fight to be selected as or to select the chosen media. Recognize that the chosen media are in the eyes and mind of your customers, the media selected by your target audience. Forget about the “right” media; find the right client/customer/prospect, and then develop the media plan, across all media, legacy or emerging, to fit their needs, not yours.

The latest issue of campaign.com.uk indicates, “Condé Nast, home to Vogue, Glamour, GQ and Wired, has found content, including advertising, in its flagship magazines is viewed in much the same way, and with similar dwell times, whether in print or digital editions. Albert Read, deputy managing director of Condé Nast Britain, said: ‘Yet again Condé Nast leads the way in industry development and evolution in this digital age. This research confirms there is no material difference whatsoever in reader profile or behavior across print and digital.’”

Who is behind this “dwell” time? Your prospect, client, or customer, that’s who, Print is dead; sure, digital is dead sure, everything is dead, sure. Everything (media as well) dies and is reconstituted into some future adaptation of what at that time and space people think media is or should be. When was the last time you read a stone tablet, or read from a rolled scroll of lambskin or papyrus?

Media is a delivery system that if you offer garbage as part of the message, you will get garbage back. Media cannot make something that is garbage into non-garbage.

Sometimes I wonder if all this positioning and strutting is all about a decline in the ability to think creatively, bridging multiple marketing canyons. Have you thought that thinking outside the box only works when you are targeting a box? What about the rest of the population? Some are boxes, some are circles, some are hexagons, some are pentagons, some are triangles, and the endless shapes go on and on. What is more important is that these shapes, these categories, also shape shift. They unexpectedly and constantly change. That is what change is all about.

What was once a six-sided, pointed circle is now a nine-sided circle, get it!

Creatively, we should be able to develop tools that balance three keys to marketing success—the database, the content and the delivery.

It does not matter if your medium is a magazine, newspaper, banner ad, an e-mail effort, a personalized direct mail element—media are media. Focus on being a bit more creative and inventive in your use and content. Look to relevance of the messages, and impart a unique delivery tool that can be measured, and I think, by Jove, you’ve got it.

If you do not like the use of the word creative, think relevant, innovative, dynamic, and interactive, exciting, interesting, centric—get it? If you do, you will see that in many cases the media trail will follow.

If you need to see an example of all of the above words in action look to what Hearst and Condé Nast has done with Amazon, not only media convergence, but creative, convenient and customer (user/reader) friendly.

Media convergence is convergence of media across all media—many into one. The recent purchase of The Washington Post by Jeff Bezos is to me the starting line, the famous line in the sand of defining future media—converged media.

Why? I think he will use the brand to develop the future of what was once called a news bureau, and to get to the future, he is going into the past. I may be wrong, so be it, but I will tell you that Bezos does not think outside the box, he thinks outside the outside.

In the end, we are discussing media, and media is only media.

Need to continue the conversation, e-mail me at thad@i4worldwide.com.

APC Education Alert:

Candid Litho in conjunction with The Advertising Production Club (APC-NYC) is hosting “Print: Trending In New York,” a live interactive tour of a working commercial print manufacturing facility on Thursday, Sept. 19 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information and to register, visit http://APC-NYC.org.

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