Written by Frank Cristiano on September 19, 2012
in Strategic Marketing

Back in 1979, British pop band The Buggles released their hit single “Video Killed the Radio Star,” proclaiming the end of the radio celebrity because of the introduction of television. We may no longer have “radio stars” as we once did, but radio and video channels continue to co-exist more than three decades later, and remain relevant even with the rise of digital programming.

Over the years, marketers have made other bold predictions about traditional marketing channels that were once the primary choice to reach our audiences.

Think about how many times you’ve heard the phrase “print media is dead.” The likelihood of specific channels completely disappearing or becoming irrelevant is highly unlikely, however.

What we are experiencing is the ongoing evolution of a multi-channel environment that is forcing us to further enhance our audience understanding. For example, the rise of social media doesn’t mean that customers will stop engaging with traditional channels like television, radio, retail, and so on, but will split their time accordingly.

McKinsey Global Institute recently released a report that shows how people in the U.S. have engaged with different channels since 1900.  Today, social media still only makes up 5% of total engagement. And it shows that as new channels are developed, they don’t necessarily replace others, but find a way to co-exist.

This multi-channel environment means that we need to work harder to understand the customer life cycle – when and why people are engaging with specific channels – and ensure that the content we develop is relevant to that moment in time. If we work under the assumption that channels will disappear or are no longer relevant, we risk alienating our customers and we will miss opportunities to communicate with them.


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