Marketing to a new generation – but choice of media can be confusing

Once it was a straight choice between TV, radio and print. Now the marketing options seem limitless

Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 01:20

In a secondary school business studies class many moons ago, this reporter took part in a marketing project to figure out which media to use for advertising campaigns targeting various different age groups.

Our little group of 13-year-olds divided the population into three camps: old, kind of old and young.

For elderly people, we decided that TV, radio and pamphlets – distributed outside churches – would be best for getting their attention.

For the middle-aged it was ads on bus stops, in newspapers and on TV. For young people, posters in schools, in football grounds and TV were considered the most effective media.

Naïve doesn’t even begin to describe our choices, especially if one were to ask the same question of a class of first years now. The list of possible media to choose from has increased 10fold since then.

Cinema, TV, radio, newspapers, blogs, social media, digital media, search engines, websites, email, cold calling – not to mention pamphleteering – are mere vessels for your content.

It is not enough to simply get your brand out there, you have to prove why it is relevant in today’s market.

“There are so many ways to influence people now in terms of communication spaces, especially on the social media side,” says Orlaith Blaney, chief executive of McCann Blue.

“Not only that, but the consumer, particularly the younger generation, have taken back a lot of the control. In the past, people saw ads and had to just accept what they saw,” Blaney says.

“Now they can comment and give feedback. The power base has shifted in a big way.”

Compelling content

The bottom line for Blaney and others in the business is that you have to create compelling content around your brand that people think is relevant. “That’s the currency were all trading in,” she says.

It is an important point as so many people look at overnight YouTube sensations and assume it is the medium that made their success possible so quickly – but there’s more to it than that.

“Done correctly, you can create a buzz around a brand totally through online channels, which can reach millions of people in minutes,” says Blaney, “but with social media it can also go nowhere because if it’s not good, people will reject it.”

Think inside the box

We tend to overstate the significance of digital media to modern communications. More people still watch TV or listen to the radio to get their info. (We got one thing right in our first-year marketing project.)

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