Socializing Media:  Interaction vs. Inert Action

One-dimensional media messaging is a waste of money; in fact, print can no longer survive by itself.  Nor can broadcast.


Back in the day when I crafted a cross- or “mixed-media” marketing program, I knew that messaging benefitted when various media channels were “mixed” using common content and timing.  The goal was obvious:  To amplify the effect of the message and to achieve higher consumer response rates.  In effect, I was capitalizing on the synergistic power of combining different media channels to optimize the impact of a common message.

Mixing continues to be the best strategy for optimizing consumer response, but the recipe has changed.  And boy is it better. 

More impactful.  More dynamic.  More enduring.

Enter social media channels.   

Welcome to the world of dynamic social messaging, i.e., the socialization of media content.

Your marketing messages no longer ride on the backs of static channels; nope, today your message can take flight.  Social media allows the consumer to “engage” in your message.  Within minutes, the consumer can be made aware of a product or concept, comprehend its value and meaning, then act on what they’ve learned whether that translates into buying a product or buying into an idea.  Or not.  The point is, the consumer is actively involved in the message and can opt in or out by virtue of how they respond.

We live in a new world:  A world of interaction, not inert action.

Dynamic.  Engaging.  Personal.  Experiential.  Deeply Impactful.

Optimal results are manifest via cross-media advertising.  Marketers today focus on synergy-based consumer media usage and they have more channels, more tools in their media toolbox to employ.

Today, Media can be bi-furcated into Old and New Media.  Old Media, which includes traditional print, broadcast and database marketing, (essentially), is enhanced by New Media, which includes the Internet and Social Media.  The combined power of Old and New is staggering.

Old Media is a top-down, hierarchal model that is controlled by the Media itself.   The message is targeted at defined groups included in the media’s reach, i.e., the Media’s specific circulation and ADI (Area of Dominant Influence) whether access is controlled or subscribed-to.  Direct Mail’s audience is defined by a precise database.  Regardless of the creative tools and content used, messages are pushed down through the selected Media, or mix, to a targeted, defined audience. 

Cross-over tools, such as QR Codes, are well established and effective.

The New Media is audience-driven.  It’s far more democratic.  It’s horizontal structure allows the audience to control the Media and this allows the message to flow freely and broadly through audience-defined and controlled networks of friends and followers.  The velocity, or the speed messages travel through New Media channels, is mind-boggling.  And if that’s not enough, the reach is global.

Old Media, Media-driven messaging (not versus, but) PLUS New Media, Audience-driven messaging can be strategically combined using a modern, Media Toolbox.

Print-to-mail is one of these tools.  Specifically, EDDM – Every Door Direct Mail – can, by virtue of the application, enhance the value (cost vis-à-vis response) of marketing mail.  Highly customized mail pieces, some using creative and complex 3-D designs, can also elevate response rates. 

Look inside the tool-box and, in addition to print-to-mail, you’ll find traditional sources of print – newsprint, advertising pieces, content pieces, transactional documents, Power Point presentations, plus database mailings featuring highly personalized, targeted content.  Broadcast channels have expanded and are more full-featured.  Traditional radio and TV are augmented by both professionally and amateur produced music, videos, music videos (via YouTube and the like), movies, etc., and the Internet super charges the availability and deliverability of all of these content sources.  When you add social media to the mix, marketers can feast on a rich and seemingly endless variety of delivery channels.

To add sense to all this, marketing practitioners engage KPI – Key Performance Indicators – analytics that measure, by benchmarking and tracking, the effectiveness of one’s advertising and marketing campaigns.   

Google Analytics.  Adobe Analytics. SAS.  These are the three leading digital platforms that offer specialized analytics aimed at improving a marketers understanding of user experience from prospect acquisition through on-going customer behavior.  They can optimize the effectiveness of marketing and advertising campaigns and, today, are enjoying widespread adoption among marketing practitioners.  Mixture-Amount-Marketing, or MAM, helps in the understanding of cross-media advertising synergy relying on a consumer’s media usage.  Its purpose is to optimize media mixes that tend to be different based on different types of media consumers.

Whew!  I’m getting a headache.

Bottom Line:  It takes a virtual community of content and analytical channels to get and sustain the biggest bang for your advertising buck, but it has a really, really Big Bang.


Harry Herget is the co-founder of both AutoMail, LLC, a premier developer of workflow solutions and Document Output Center, LLC, a working laboratory for these solutions offering outsource services that create and deliver transaction items — bank statements, utility and medical bills, insurance premiums, etc – in both electronic and printed form in the most secure and professional manner possible.  Both LLC’s are owned by Trinamic Corporation which Herget owns with partner, Steve Smith.  Their Data Center Manager Toolkit is analogous to a 4-Star Admiral who commands an armada of high-tech weapons that are unmatched in power and capability in the arena of workflow challenges and opportunities.  He also founded and ran Herget Marketing Group from 1976 to 2000, a full-service marketing , advertising and public relations firm.