AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerThe Medium is Dead, Long Live the Medium

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The Medium is Dead, Long Live the Medium

Editorialists and prognosticators of all kinds relish in predicting the demise of one medium or another—the latest I’m hearing on CNBC and other “news” outlets is that “newspaper is dead.”Dubai World Cup Race Day 2015

The channel predictors have been around from the dawn of time: “Speeches are dead, print is dead, radio is dead, retail is dead, broadcast TV is dead, advertising is dead,” and one I just couldn’t believe that I heard recently, “Twitter is dead.”

Yikes, even social outlets are collapsing under the weight of the new, new. It must be because it is easier to understand clear winners and losers rather than explore the gray area. The fact of the matter is that few things are totally replaced by another new idea. There are examples of technological changes eliminating another technology, but in the case of channels, the death sentence is usually premature. Things change, metamorphosis occurs, but “channels” are rarely eliminated or “killed” by another channel. Did newspaper kill speeches, did radio kill newspapers, did broadcast TV kill radio, did cable kill broadcast TV, did satellite kill cable, did live streaming kill satellite? Has text killed email? (Not likely if my inbox is any indication.) Is Instagram or Snapchat killing Facebook? Amazon has not killed retail—ask Apple why it opened more than 500 stores and is opening more in emerging markets. Will ad blockers kill advertising? If you hear yourself say, “I can’t tell if this is an ad or not,” know the ad blockers are not killing anything.

Are newspapers changing? Absolutely, but the newspaper of today looks a lot different from newspapers in the 1900s. The key is to embrace and absorb the change to better your brand and your organization. New technology needs to change your thinking–helping you find innovation and efficiencies not possible in the past.

Your fundamental message should not change, but your messaging should become more integrated and experiential. People will pick their medium of choice and it may be different for different locations, time of day and mood. You need to be there and ready engage.

One of my favorite examples is from a conference I attended. I don’t remember the speaker, but I’ll never forget the story. Did the automobile “kill” horse travel? Let’s see, there are a lot of vehicles out there, but horse travel did not disappear, it transformed:

  • There are nearly 7 million horses in the US (about the same amount as in the 1800s)
  • 4.6 million people are involved in the industry as horse owners, service providers or employees
  • Total taxes paid is nearly $2 billion
  • The industry has $112 billion in economic impact

Not bad for a “dead” mode of transportation. (Source: The Equestrian Channel)

A search for record players and turntables yielded 25 million results. Now if I can just find a market for my 8-tracks. Change is constant; look for the ways to embrace the new and transform the old.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.