Saving New York?

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The problems with the exhaust fumes from transport vehicles are not quite new. In fact, they are not new at all. Actually, the world had a gruelling struggle dealing with this problem at the turn of the 19th and the 20th century. Speaking about the facts, transport was not driven by engines, but horses, but the problem of “exhaust gases” was still there. True, these “exhaust gases” were in a different physical state and had a slightly different odour than today’s, but the problem still existed.

And it was a big problem in every sense of the word. And so in 1890, New York already had over 100 thousand horses used for transportation purposes, with each of them producing over 10 kg of solid “exhaust fumes” per day. You do the math!!! Initially these “exhaust fumes” were used, as we would probably say today as a “renewable sources of energy” and were sold to farmers in the surrounding areas who used them for fertilizing their fields, and when the production exceeded the needs in many ways, they were helplessly disposed of in landfills of the suburbs, some of which reached a height of 20 meters. The traffic commissioner of New York, George Weam, warned that this problem had to be solved urgently, otherwise the “exhaust fumes”, or to put it more precisely, the horseshit, would reach the third floor and the city would be drowned in you-know-what! It was a big crisis at that time. And since this was the problem of other major cities of that time, in 1898 the first international conference on urban planning was held in New York. You suppose what was the main topic. However, although it was planned to last ten days, the participants had ended it after the third day of the session, agreeing that there was no solution to the problem. Epilogue: An unexpected solution was found, and motor vehicles soon became the main form of transportation, with horsepower, formerly out on the city streets, confined to the hoods of cars, buses and trucks. New York had been saved!


Today’s media-marketing world is in a crisis. As it is presented to us, it is a crisis of traditional media, which includes radio, press and television. The new term with magical powers is offered as a solution to this crisis, which runs through the halls of the agencies, echoes in the conference halls of advertisers and the main topic of the media companies’ boards is the term DIGITAL MEDIA.Somehow, it’s become the norm – traditional media is “out”, digital media is “in”. Consequently, all the necessary measures and activities are undertaken: social networks are pumped, social marketing strategies devised, brand fan pages created, “likes” counted, fan bases boosted, everything is “shared” all over the place, bloggers are “followed” and used for promotion, “tweets” are exchanged with “followers” in order to generate even better consumers, and so on. It’s all la-de-da, really… we’re all fancy and everything’s cool!

Although at first glance such an interpretation sounds logical, the measures taken do not give the expected results and all are still trapped in the problem. Advertisers notice that their marketing messages are getting more and more difficult to reach the potential buyers and that everything becomes more and more expensive because the number of media channels that communicate messages is increasing – even the number of traditional ones, not to mention these new, digital media.  Agencies, whose task it is to enable this market communication for their impatient clients, face a great difficulty to meet their growing needs, because not only these channels are increasing in number every day, but each of them requires a special approach and specific communication tools, and the existing  “client-agency” relationship model simply does not allow it. On the other hand, the media desperately tries to capture as much of the media budgets as they are getting smaller, as these budgets are distributed to an increasing number of users. And the circle comes full.

And that’s because the problem is approached from the wrong standpoint, and accordingly, they take the wrong path to come up with the solution. So advertisers panic because their “creative” messages do not work, and they more often try to attract customers only by the price.  That’s why we have so many “incredible offers”, then those “two-for-one”, “three-for-one” (feel free to continue), and free cucumber jar if you buy half a kilo of meat, and discounts that are not at least 50 % are no longer considered discounts at all. Agencies also know that they have to “reorganize” and they do this mainly by opening digital marketing departments trying to prove both to themselves and the clients that they are able to keep up with the new model, but since they do it in frames of the old model, then it ends up in collecting “likes”, calculating “click-through-rates” and counting “banners” in the same way as they once counted newspaper ratings and summed up the number of eyes watching TV and ears listening to the radio.

Agencies know that they need to add up “likes” just like they used to calculate newspaper circulation and add up the number of eyes watching television and ears listening to the radio. And the media support their demands for larger shares in media budgets by hiring various market research agencies which, in turn, present the optimal demographics of their viewers/listeners/readers/visitors, tailored to their client’s needs or product. Everyone is counted – women, housewives, rural, urban, pupils, students, workers (if there are still any left somewhere), those employed and soon-to-be employed, married and divorced do the adding up, those retired and soon-to-be-retired do the adding up…


And so, a new problem is analyzed using an old discourse, as we attempt to solve it by using an old paradigm. And the old paradigm is that numbers and statistics are the answer to all, everything is viewed in quantitative terms and quantity is believed to yield quality. The more people see my message, the more of them will want to buy my product, that’s why I’ll advertise over those media channels which provide the highest visibility and I’ll pay for all of it fair and square, “per view”. Both the viewers of telenovelas and FB fan page “friends” are just a number. As long as they fit the desired demographics, I’ll buy them all – by kilo, by unit, in bulk, and if I manage to get a discount (I think it’s called AVB in expert terms), the sky’s the limit!

To begin with, the way we look at the problem should be changed.  Advertisers must stop believing self-lovingly in the power of their ingenious marketing messages and slogans that they have invented (or the agency created them) because they are absolutely convinced that only they and nobody else knows better what their brand “communicates”. In today’s industrialized world of communication, the only thing communicated, want it or not, is our own arrogance.

And so the dilemma: traditional or digital media, is a false one. As long as new media is treated in the old way, it remains old. Thus, Google announced that “click-through-rate” fell by 15% during last year. And last September, It took more than a day for British Airways to reply to a passenger who expressed their dissatisfaction because of the lost luggage on Twitter. They responded the following day to apologize for the late reply, with the explanation that their “twitter feed” was open from 9 am to 5 pm!!! Is BA Twitter really a new medium?

On the other hand, we read these press releases of “Outfit 7”, which is responsible for one of the most popular mobile applications “Talking Friends” (the number of downloaded apps has exceeded 1.5 billion and their YouTube channels recorded more than ten of millions of views), that it has signed a contract with the Spanish production company “BRB International” to shoot 52 episodes of the sitcom “Talking Tom and Friends” each 11 minutes long. Is “Outfit 7” television really an old media?


Most of the people in this media-marketing world did not understand that the essence of the technological revolution we live in and which is symbolized by the Internet is not that we are able to communicate more and more with the aid of more and more perfect devices through which we come to infinite number of information and have access to unlimited sources of knowledge. Its essence is, first of all, that it has brought power to an individual, who has thus become a medium himself. And not only as a consumer of media content, but above all, as their author and distributor. Each of us daily produces content and broadcast it through various devices and networks, making that content to become media content.

For this reason, it is paradoxical that in discussions inside the holy trinity of the media-marketing scene: client-agency-medium, the one whose newly-acquired power and activity are in fact altering the old paradigm, is the one being ignored. Out of the scores of numbers and charts used to try and explain the situation, the only invisible medium whose opinion doesn’t matter and which isn’t taken into account is the individual, the man as a medium. (Unless “taking into account” implies the individual’s right to register in your database and/or become your FB friend, or start “following” you on Twitter, at which point you can freely bombard him with your amazing and irresistible offers.)

The assumption of each communication is the existence of attention of the person we are addressing. When the number of those who send messages and the number of media through which this message should be sent is limited, then the attention of an individual can be obtained by one-way communication, by sending a message, because then your main task is just to find out where are the people you want to communicate with. The still dominant model of market communication which functions on the basis of the autocratic approach: ORDER – ATTACK – CONQUER – DEFEND, is built precisely upon that premise. When you create your marketing message or slogan, you have issued an order to attack, then you attack by sending that message through the media, making people hear the appropriate frequency of those messages and ultimately you defend your position in the number of consumers and banknotes from competitors who want you out of the game. Naturally, only the biggest, richest and the strongest win in such a model, and these are usually the same people.

But how to draw people’s attention in the media cacophony we live in today? In a world dominated by one-to-one communication, the main task is to involve and engage an individual. Therefore, the model of communication adapted to this time must function on a democratic principle: ASK-LISTEN-RESPOND-TALK.  When you have something to say or show, first ask people what they think about it, if they are interested, they will answer then it’s your turn to answer and the communication started. That’s when you’ve already recruited the person for your own cause and he becomes the subject of this dialogue. Some people from this conversation will have the need to spread your story further, so this is how others will be involved, too. The decision of an individual to buy your products once or on regular bases is the result of mutual respect and trust built through the dialogue. When they hear their own voice in that dialogue, they will hear yours as well and extract it from general surrounding noise. This creates a movement in which people believe in and which they want to belong to. In this model, only authentic individuals win.

So forget about the messages. The first and the most important question is what is your story? Do you have it at all and are you skilled enough to tell it? Do you know who is to be first to hear it? Are you ready to listen and complement the story accordingly? Of course, you do not have clear answers to these questions. You do not have to know them at the beginning. Start the conversation and you will find the answers!

The existing media-marketing model will certainly continue to work for a while. For some of the participants, especially the biggest ones, it will still stay a completely satisfactory model. But this is not future. The world in which this model was created no longer exists, only the news has not yet been received, and therefore they do not see that the level of exhaust fumes around them is constantly increasing. Sooner or later, it’s gonna rise up to our throats, and it’s already past that point for some people. Careful, so it doesn’t happen to you! Choose the vehicle which will transport you to your own future wisely. Save your own New York in time!

Source: Media Marketing

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