Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The old tools – where do they fit

The digital revolution is changing so rapidly that the moment I speak about something it has changed because a new way has been found and a new tool has been invented. That is why it is important that change is embraced in business these days because the tools and the strategies and the use of those tools is changing so dramatically. Let us not forget that history is the best teacher in the world, and the old tools of marketing and the old tools of growing business are still sitting there, just waiting to be used.

 Many of the old tools have been considered by some as so archaic that they cannot be utilized anymore and I would signal that as a warning bell – do not buy into that idea. What is happening is that many people are diving into utilizing the new tools, blindly. This blind commitment is often creating overuse of those tools which means that the space is so overcrowded that it almost impossible for people to be seen and be heard. That opens up opportunities for the old tools to be used, as the odds of being noticed have increased as people flock to the new, overcrowded space.

  My point is: don’t forget the old. There is a time and place to use the old and the new. Examine carefully where YOUR opportunity lies and choose the appropriate tool. Take radio as an example....

Radio is one of the oldest tools from a marketing perspective – it’s been around since the 1920’s. If you speak to a lot of new media people, they will say radio is dead. Just what they base their opinions on – who knows. It’s real easy to say but pretty hard to prove, especially because it just is not true. Movies, TV and the web have not killed radio, and this medium still continues to be strong and innovative. Why? Because it is a personal medium that can be creative and innovative, and it adjusts itself to the needs of today. After all – it has been called the “theatre of the mind” – and for very good reason.

 Here are a handful of reasons why radio still remains real and relevant, and it is due to people that are highly innovative:

- The Colombian government recently used Morse code embedded in a popular song – telling their captured soldiers to keep faith, and that they were coming to rescue them. Since the soldiers were trained in Morse code, they were able to understand the message, however their captors were not aware that the message was even being sent. This tactic helped the captured soldiers to keep their spirits up while waiting for their rescuers to arrive.

- A Music school in Germany wanted to recruit people that had “perfect pitch”. They could have tried all the new media options and would have been inundated with applications that they would have needed to process. Rather they did this: they ran their application as a radio commercial and identified their email address by playing piano notes in specific keys. Only those people that had perfect pitch and understood the notes that were being played were able to understand the email address. Quite brilliant – because they limited their applications only to those that could hear the “perfect pitch”. It was the first entrance exam. Unbelievable.

I strongly recommend that you do not buy into the foolish notion that everything that is new will automatically replace everything that is old. Use history as your teacher and you will see that is not true. Each and every one of the tools (from print to direct mail to traditional advertising and beyond) that have ever been used from a marketing point of view has a place if they are adapted wisely enough. As the new media tools are used more and more, it leaves gaps for some of the old tools to jump back in and make an impression. It is the smart businesspeople that will see the opportunity and grab it.

 So to simply buy into the old pied piper, follow the crowd philosophy, and utilize things that are new, just because they are new are really fool’s gold to the gullible. Buyer beware! Look at your situation, look at your goals, look at your objectives, look at your target audience, look at your brand, look at what differentiates you , look at your competitors – ask all those questions and more; analyze carefully before jumping in and deciding what tools to use. Judge what is appropriate for you and your circumstances, that’s the best way of judging how to decide what tool to use.

Article by: Neville Pokroy. Neville Pokroy is a principal of Mastermind Solutions Inc., a Toronto-based consulting firm, and leads the marketing practice. He has more than 30 years of experience in corporate marketing and consulting in entrepreneurial businesses across an extensive range of industries. His focus is on helping companies with a vision to achieve business growth. He can be reached at (905)886-2235 or MastermindSolutions.ca

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