The Next New Thing Syndrome

Excitement in the world of marketing always seems like it is attached to the latest and greatest. I call it the-next-new-thing syndrome. Social media has everyone’s ear right now. If you were to gauge the relative import of all marketing strategies from the amount of Twitter and blog traffic they receive, it would be easy to conclude that most marketers should be devoting a majority of their budgets to a social media focus.

Don’t get me wrong, social media is not simply a fad. It will become a cornerstone for good marketing at most companies. But that fact doesn’t eliminate the need and responsibility for CMOs and other marketing executives to consider tried-and-true approaches to their efforts as well as funding new media initiatives. What most CMOs would find immensely beneficial is concentrating their efforts on connecting the old to the new to create an effective contemporary communications strategy.

Some people are quick to call past marketing mainstream methods dead: TV, radio, newspaper, magazines, etc. These same people often do this in spite of the fact they intersect with these media in analog or digital form on an almost daily basis. Some pundits have even begun to put things that are still relatively nascent such as corporate blogging into the deadpool. Amber Naslund at Altitude Branding had a great post the other day questioning whether people who are quick to label certain media dead, are perhaps the ones who just don’t get how to do it well.

David Armano addressed this with a slightly different twist in a recent post. David’s was writing about social media, but in a larger sense he was talking about the importance of strategy vs. execution. People like to talk about new things because there is this grace period where most discussions are of a strategic nature. But execution is where the rubber meets the road. Talking the talk is the easy part. Walking the walk is an entirely different matter.

The implications of social media on marketing, and what exactly to do, are a giant R & D crucible right now. People get points when they talk about social media. But they can get slammed when they try to employ social media techniques. Just ask Chris Brogan. Older traditional media strategies have an immensely useful shelf life remaining if you know how to revitalize them with new media options. Unfortunately, as Amber said, people who don’t know how to do this, seem all to eager to simply write off yesterday’s media choices as passé . And David is right: execution is what ultimately matters. Strategy is just talk until something happens. You can make it happen with old media. You can make it happen with new media. But don’t ever forget that the marketers who will really make a difference to their organizations’ futures are the ones who make it happen from old to new, top to bottom, analog to digital.

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