Can You Reach the Masses Without Mass Media?

Can You Reach the Masses Without Mass Media?

          
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The CMO’s Dilemma

Can You Reach the Masses Without Mass Media?
Marketing & Sales, Consumer & Retail
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    Traditional media outlets—newspapers, magazines, radio, and broadcast television—are under tremendous pressure, their loss of revenue, readers, listeners, and viewers well chronicled by journalists at the businesses under siege. The shrinking of these media, of course, has painful implications for the people who work within them as well as for investors. But it also spells trouble for the chief marketing officers (CMOs) who rely on mass media to reach a mass audience.

    When a daily newspaper stops publishing or moves to an online format—as happened this year in Denver and Seattle and could happen as well in Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles—a critical marketing and communications vehicle disappears. Of course, advertisers are shifting their dollars to new types of media and to other marketing categories. But for the first time in history, their actions are undermining the economic model that supports traditional media businesses—and creating broader problems for marketers who still need those outlets to broadcast their messages.

    The future of mass marketing and advertising, at least in developed markets, is now just as much in play as the future of the traditional media industry itself. Online search, advertiser microsites, word-of-mouth marketing, social networking, and Twittering all have an important place in the marketing mix, but for the foreseeable future, they will not be able to match the reach, efficiency, and speed of mass media.

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