Social Media: Are We Falling Into The All-Or-Nothing Trap?

11 years ago by in Blog posts, Marketing & Communication Tagged: , ,

Given that ‘Social Media’ is one of the most popular topics of discussion online and offline, I realize I may not make myself very popular with this question. So let me start by stating, for the record, that I am very excited about the many new opportunities that social media bring to marketers. Without social media, my company would never have been able to reach such a vast, yet targeted, audience in such a quick, direct and cost effective manner. Social media have made it a lot easier for me to be reached for promising and exciting business and partnership opportunities. And I can go on and on and on about its benefits.

Nevertheless, I begin to wonder whether some of us aren’t over-exaggerating the significance of social media. As if social media are the panacea for ALL marketing challenges. Let me give you two examples:

For a couple of weeks now, I follow a fierce discussion on ‘Dutch Marketing Professionals’ (a LinkedIn group). The discussion was sparked by the following statement made by Bart Kuipers:

“Experienced marketers older than 40. What should we do with them? In the past decade, Offline media (print) have permanently lost the battle to Online (Internet). The world, however, is still replete with so-called experienced marketers in important positions who focus their thinking and actions on Offline. These people obstruct progress.”

Any good marketer will take issue with the premise of this statement. First of all, it assumes that marketing and marketing communication are synonyms. And we all know that marketing is much more than just marketing communication. The second issue with his statement is that Bart wrongfully assumes that offline media are dead. To prove that offline media are still very much alive, let me go to my second example.

Yesterday, I was listening to BNRpeptalk, a talk show programme on a Dutch radio station called BNR (Business News Radio).  The radio talk show host, Frederique de Jong, threw the following statement up for discussion: “Campaigning is done through social media. What do you think?”

Frederique took issue with a national campaign against discrimination, because its call to action was for people to visit the website, to download a poster, to print it out and then tape it on their window to show their support for this cause. “Very old-fashioned!”, Frederique said. This campaign should be run through social media. Funnily, she didn’t see the irony of her making a case against offline media on a radio station that is financially heavily dependent on radio commercials. I tweeted to her, asking how happy BNR was with her statement, but unfortunately I got no reply…

New developments always get our full attention. New developments are what makes current technology ‘old’. New developments oftentimes make us think that ‘old’ technology will be made irrelevant. But how often does that really happen? Isn’t it more often the case that ‘old’ technology evolves to synergistically coexist with new technology?

The VCR was expected to annihilate cinemas, but in fact, it greatly enhanced the cinema experience. And behold, the cinema is still proving to be a very profitable outlet for the entertainment industry. The PC was expected to get rid of paper for good, but the ‘paperless office’ and e-books still haven’t taken off successfully.

Therefore, maybe – just maybe – we should be open to the idea that social media will NOT replace traditional offline (and online) media. Maybe the traditional media will still prove their worth by accomplishing what social media cannot accomplish. Better yet, maybe the combination of social and traditional media will make for more successful campaigns. I, for one, am going to assume that this is indeed the case.


This blog was originally posted on

 | Left-brain | Left-handed | Marketing | Muziek | Pianist (Funk, Soul, Jazz) | Foodie | Politiek | D66 | Thunderbird alumnus | Blogs in English & Dutch Hooglanderveen, Nederland ·

  • Published: 29 posts

Leave a Comment