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Sounding Off: Marsha Friedman “Traditional Media Not Going Away”


Marsha-J-FriedmanFor 20 years Marsha Friedman has been a leading authority on public relations as CEO of EMSI, a public relations firm.

With over three decades of experience in marketing and PR, in the last few years I have been awed and excited by the new opportunities afforded by the Internet. The explosion of Internet applications, such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, to name a few, has shifted and expanded the world of marketing and PR, and it will never be the same.

But, don’t expect the traditional media – newspapers, radio and TV – to disappear any time soon. Those who predict the death of traditional media could not be more wrong! In truth, the only really successful marketing campaigns must now embrace ALL media avenues, both offline (traditional) and online.

Irish playwright Eugene O’Neil once wrote, “There is no present or future, only the past happening over and over again – now.” That is what is happening with radio and, in fact, with all other traditional media now being thrown into the dead pool because of the rise of the Internet. In fact, the death of radio has been predicted on numerous occasions with the advent of 8-track cartridges, MTV, satellite broadcasting and the Internet…experts have claimed each would make radio obsolete or irrelevant.

We once used radio for everything. Then came television, and it was predicted by “well-informed people” that not only would radio die, but so would the movies!

But radio and movies are still here. Instead of dying, radio evolved and found a new niche. It would never again be the center of our living rooms, where families would gather to be entertained and informed, but it would survive as a music medium. Today, radio is as strong as ever – and even with a huge growth in the talk radio landscape!

And let’s talk about print. When the Seattle Post-Intelligencer scrapped its print edition in favor of an online-only version, people began predicting the same death of the print medium. But, in fact, the traditional print medium is thriving. Just as radio reinvented itself after the dawn of television, so has print in the age of the Internet. The print medium’s primary strength – beat reporters – still exists and their articles are printed in traditional publications AND are also posted on the Internet!

And I suppose that’s my point. As marketing gurus talk up the importance of social media marketing, search engine optimization, strong Web sites, blogging and other Internet-centered activities, we can’t omit traditional media from our marketing and PR strategy. People still listen to radio. People still watch TV. People still read print publications (both offline AND online). They are STILL the media, and they are NOT on life support.

Traditional media should still be the backbone of your efforts, but MUST be combined with online marketing and PR for maximum exposure. If you don’t cover all the bases, you will have missed the terrific cross-marketing opportunities enjoyed by savvy marketers who’ve embraced the synergy of a campaign that combines offline and online strategies!


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