Brian Fuller's blog on the media, marketing and content creation

Does the media have any value any more?

Posted on | September 11, 2010 | 4 Comments

That was the question that Sam Whitmore essentially posited in an interview we did recently. He has clients who ask him the question. In short:

In an era in which direct-to-customer communications and social media dominates, who needs the media, especially the trade press?

My answer, for one, is the vendors themselves. I’ve written a lot about vendor-as-publisher concepts, strategies,  and tactics. As the practice has evolved in the past few years, it’s become clear that vendor as publisher is more about customer nurturing rather than customer acquisition.

The vendor needs not only to find new customers through relationships with independent publishers (who put food on the table by trying to be comprehensive, fair and unbiased–as much as is humanly possible) but also to get validation for its products and services.

Let’s be honest: There’s a not a marketer in the world who hasn’t put out at least one product he or she thought wouldn’t pass the smell test but actually did in the eyes of the media. Any human being who makes a decision will directly or indirectly seek a sounding board. So it is with vendors.

To take Sam’s question a different way, companies will always need to deal with some form of “press.” If the trade press vanished tomorrow, something would replace its role as reporter-validater, and vendors would have to establish completely new relationships there.

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4 Responses to “Does the media have any value any more?”

  1. bfuller9 (Brian Fuller)
    September 11th, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

    Twitter Comment

    Does the trade media even matter any more in B:B? Sure. Why not? [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  2. Lou Covey
    September 11th, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

    It’s not a matter of needing media, it’s a matter of needing believable communication. Most of what passes for vendor-as-publisher content is little more than a brochure, and that’s because the vendor is not trained or experienced in providing information that is valuable to the customer. They are trained, if they are trained, to promote their own self interest. Even if they do create valuable content, their motivation is suspect. It is possible for vendors to create trust in the customer base with adequate communication if they are will to learn how to do it. The other option is to support efforts that create that level of trust, and that means a third-party medium.

  3. Jonathan Potts
    October 3rd, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

    You nailed it — validation is the most important reason why the media still matters. True, organizations can communicate directly to their clients/customers/constituents, but those audiences haven’t lost their natural skepticism. The media provides the third-party validation that organizations covet, and there are no replacements for that in site.

  4. Jonathan Potts
    October 3rd, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

    I meant “in sight.” How embarrassing.

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