Is Traditional Media Dead?

August 31, 2015
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Rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

No matter where you turn, the Internet and social media are everywhere.  From organizations blogging their latest news to consumers “liking” a local business to get special offers, the World Wide Web and social media have become the darlings of the marketing scene.

As the Internet continues to impact the commercial landscape, funeral home and cemetery owners have be asking themselves, “Surely our website and social media postings are all we need to promote our company.  We can stop running those radio commercials and placing newspaper ads.”  Well I beg to differ.

Multiple Sources

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It’s no secret that families are integrating the Internet and social media more and more into their lives.  However, they haven’t abandoned traditional media sources and media habits.   As recent news events have demonstrated, consumers get information from multiple sources, turning their attention to different media types at different times for different reasons.  For example, this month when Twitter feeds announced the stock market “correction”, consumers turned to their television to substantiate the news.  The next day, many grabbed copies of daily newspapers to get the expanded, in-depth story.

While I encourage my clients to include social media in their advertising and public relations efforts, I do not advise anyone to drop traditional media.  It’s just too important.

It may seem like traditional media is losing its usefulness and its effectiveness.  Some newspapers and magazines have folded.  More and more people are turning to social networks to get their news.  And popular bloggers are reaching an increasing number of people.

All this is true.

However, funeral homes and cemeteries still need traditional media for marketing to families.  Here are five reasons why:

1)    Traditional media outlets are instantly recognizable.  Chances are families can recognize your town’s newspaper rather than the most popular blog in your community.  Traditional media have been around longer than social media and many have built identifiable and credible brands.

2)    Traditional media gives your firm instant prestige.  Because traditional media are recognizable and often seen as credible, getting exposure through them give you instant status and credibility as well.  On the other hand, being interviewed on a blog or web TV may not have the same effect on your families.

3)    Traditional media still reaches large audiences.  As long as a traditional media outlet is still publishing or airing, chances are it continues to reach a big enough audience to keep it viable.  Research shows that families continue to spend more time with TV than any other media.  This is why so many online stories take off only after TV and other traditional media has talked about them.

4)    Social media feed on traditional media.  Bloggers often write about what’s going on in traditional media, whether it’s a new TV commercial or a story that ran recently in the news.  If you land an interview on your local radio station or a news story about your firm runs in the local paper, you’re likely to catch the attention of social media as well.  Further, appearing in traditional media gives you something to blog about on your website, post on Facebook page or tweet to your Twitter followers.  It’s what I like to call the “media multiplicity” effect.

5)    Traditional media have huge social media presence.  Traditional media outlets often have their own Internet presence, such as websites, blogs and social networking profiles.  Those media outlets usually get more traffic than even the most popular blogs.

So if you were ready to get rid of traditional media for social media – don’t!  You still need traditional media to reach an audience and establish your creditability.

The most important thing is to target the media outlets that your families are embracing, whether it’s a digital media or a traditional one.  Chances are you’ll do best to have a mix of both.

Joe Weigel is the owner of Weigel Strategic Marketing, a communications firm focused on the funeral profession that delivers expertise and results across three interrelated marketing disciplines: strategy, branding and communications. For more information, you can visit his website at weigelstrategicmarketing.webs.com. He also can be reached at 317-608-8914 or joseph.weigel@gmail.com.

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