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Never Say Die: Traditional & Digital Media
By: Kaitlin T. Gallucci
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There's no doubt that the Internet has revolutionized marketing, branding, and business in general. But at what expense? Is there a give-and-take—for one new type of media, do we lose another? Some say "Yes! Print is dead! Traditional is dead!" But is it really? Will it ever be? No one has thrown out their televisions yet, and home mailboxes haven't gone extinct. Newspapers are still in print, and not everyone has a tablet—some don't even have smartphones. How can traditional marketing be dead, and more importantly, do we want it to die?

The New York Times has announced that it will go out of print "sometime in the future," which may or may not cause a domino effect. To be honest, the effects that will come from this are almost impossible to predict. Can you imagine newspapers going out of print? Obviously the expectation is that people will continue to get the news digitally, in spaces where banner and display ads are prominent. A recent Harris Poll found that 55% of respondents believed "traditional media as we currently know it will no longer exist in 10 years." Eighty-one percent said that "while printed news will continue to decline, there will always be a need for newspapers in print," while 43% stated that "the day of the printed newspaper is gone." Sounds ominous, but a 67% majority of that same polling group also stated "I prefer to get my news in more traditional ways, such as network television and/or reading newspapers or magazines in print." Still, 50% admitted to getting news from online sources, including 65% of 18-34 year olds. And television? Forty-six percent said they use local TV newscasts "all the time." In comparison, 35% said the same about local newspapers, 31% about network TV newscasts, and just 16% about websites.

Well, never say die. Kantar Media recently revealed that "the recovery in advertising spending gained momentum in the third quarter" of 2010—ad spending rose 6.4% in the first nine months of 2010, rising 8.7% in the third quarter. According to Jon Swallen, senior vice president for research at Kantar Media in New York, "TV started growing before the other media started to improve." While the results do include Internet display ads, the media to enjoy the largest increase in the first nine months of 2010 was television, growing 17.8% in spot TV and 9% in cable. Magazines reported an increase of 2.6%, while newspapers reported a decline of 2.9%.

Can't we all just get along? Can't traditional and digital media exist in harmony, resulting in cohesive and effective branding messages? Numbers don't lie, but neither do consumers' behaviors. While we aren't at a point where we can really pronounce certain media "dead or alive," we're certainly in a state of major fluctuation, and we'll have to continue riding the waves before we see what modern marketing becomes.

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About the Author
Kaitlin T. Gallucci is a New York based direct and digital marketing strategist. She tweets here.
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