Don’t Get Caught in the Media Hypestorm

May 3, 2012 Deb Griffith

The latest victim of its own success is Pinterest. At least, that’s what one would believe by scanning the latest media headlines touting the fall of Pinterest engagement.

Social media, flash sales, and QR codes have all experienced similar industry backlash. So what’s really happening here? Are we as consumers turning that fickle due to the ever accelerating speed of media evolution? Are we as marketers that willing to abandon our efforts based on the latest “expert” sound bite? Sorting through the hype isn’t that hard when you use a little common sense.

The new millennium has ushered in an unprecedented number and variety of new media options. And every time the latest and greatest takes the spotlight, it heralds the death of existing ones. Remember the predictions on direct mail, then email? How about MySpace? Each of these has had their popularity pendulum swing radically, yet they have all found their footing and place in the media mix, and that mix can change among different marketing channels. The current media trend is that when something new comes out, everyone joins the bandwagon.

And while the rush to be the first established in any new media space may could be a competitive advantage, the learning curve is bound to produce failures. However, the failure of a new medium to work for a campaign, product, or even a brand doesn’t render the medium itself a failure. It just means that the marketing industry needs to figure out what works in each channel, and what doesn’t.

To quote Thomas Edison on the process, “I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.” But that can be expensive. As well as discouraging, or even embarrassing. So it’s easy to see why marketers are so quick to slough off a new media darling when their ROI is at stake. And so the pendulum swings wildly from marketing savior to media whipping boy, but over time settles and steadies . And the key to stabilization is that the marketing industry as a whole embraces change, and has a willingness to be creative, and to optimize channel marketing solutions. As a result:

  • Pinterest’s value will be harnessed by those who can capitalize on imagery and visual search
  • QR codes will be seen on buildings with high foot traffic, and removed from billboards on highways
  • Flash sales will find the right niches and deal flexibility

All of which cumulates in a drive toward using new media in ways that make more sense to the users. And that’s what we’re all striving for in marketing. So take a deep breath, relax, and don’t close your Pinterest account just yet. Instead, focus on finding the ways to experiment without too much risk, and be willing to be part of a collective solution that harnesses each medium’s best qualities. And recognize you work in an industry where you never have to be bored. Something new and interesting will be launching tomorrow.

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