The Family Relation Dynamics of Traditional and Social Media

week 2 tradtional and social media

Everyday we watch, read, and listen…and have the option to speak. When comparing traditional to social media marketing, there is nary a soul alive that doesn’t see how social media marketing is completely trumping the traditional media venues, much the same way a computer dominates a typewriter.  Not only has fast-paced technology completely altered the marketing landscape, the traditional communication nuclear family has been shaken to its core.

Before you think I’ve completely thrown out the “old uncle” with the bath water in lieu of the “teenage niece gulping downing energy drinks,” let’s hold on a second. Direct mailings, print, radio and television traditional marketing has efficiently served the business world in the timeframe it solely dominated the scene and as the saying does, “for every season–there is a purpose.”

I’m all about seeing the Internet through the eyes of Captain Kirk, Even though William Shatner tickled my fancy in elementary school—let’s go with that deliciously brazen Chris Pine version and the quest to “boldly go where no smartphone has gone before!”  But like a fine wine, I prefer nightly sipping on television, and breathing in standard talk radio while hustling out and about in the DC metro area.  I also don the well-worn comfy classic media bathrobe on Sundays while drinking coffee with that sweet feel of leisurely turning those nostalgic Washington Post newspaper pages in my happy-overworked hands.

Direction of Communication Marketing

It all boils down to traditional and social media being family.  Despite the generation gap, family takes care of each other.  Grandpa started the business, dad took over and now junior is at the helm.  As generational marketing naturally evolved, many challenges were overcome such as the one-directional classic media format transforming into finely tuned multi-directional interactivity media.

Holmes (2007) comments that the strongest proponents of the importance of interactivity are the ‘second media age’ theorists (Gilder, Poster, Rheingold) who bestow it with emancipator meanings in contrast to the one-way architecture of first media age. Traditional media of newspapers, radio, television and cinema are viewed as repressive, controlling, subordinating and an attack on individuality itself. New media, in contrast, are seen to place the control of meaning-making back into the hands of the individual.”

There’s little argument that the continued direction of sophistication in marketing communication is on the rise creating unprecedented opportunities to connect with customers and constituencies.  As McGoldrick (n.d.) aptly mentions, “What once was a low-cost channel seeking simple results such as Facebook “likes” now is a more polished discipline: one that builds by word-of-mouth through complex interactions and enables a better understanding of who influences whom and how tipping points are reached.”

Scope of Marketing

Classic media was limited to zeroing in on specific target audiences and markets as best they could to optimize results.  Social Media is available to just about everybody.  Even though social media marketing is still like shooting fish in a barrel, at least the ammo is cheaper and the range potential is more far reaching. With the mass amount of consumer big data available, the scope of marketing appears endless to exploit the richness of targeting based on data.

(Young, 2014) “As traditional media has digitized, so has the availability of data and the ability for media planners to capture and respond with increased granularity.  Outcast Media, a digital media company that sells video advertising atop fuel pumps across gas stations throughout the United States, is now working with advertisers to run video ads based on a profile of the user’s credit card.

A good example of the integration of traditional to digitized media is when apparel manufacturer Patagonia shocked the system in 2011 by running a full-page ad in The New York Times with the provocative headline: “Don’t Buy This Jacket.” In the ad, readers were prompted to go online and sign a two-part pledge to reduce consumption and waste by buying items only when needed, repairing them when they break and recycling products at the end of their useful life. The buzz online was fortified by coverage in top outlets like The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post and The Guardian. The campaign aim was to reinforce Patagonia as a high-quality brand that offers durable, long-lasting products.

The kinship of media integration

In his book “Twitter is Not a Strategy,” J. Walter Thompson Asia CEO Tom Doctoroff explains how integrating the traditional and digital branding is the best strategy for brands. Digital age, he contends, is enabling consumers to be much more empowered in terms of how they engage with manufacturers and brand messages and how they provide feedback, so there’s a more dynamic interrelationship between consumer and brand than there was in the past. (Abulashivili, 2015).

Within the old and new media family integration, for the first time our consumer cousins came to the reunion and responded by triggering a mass dialogue — adding the speaking element to what we all do well as a family, gather on the sofa and watch, read and listen.


Abulashivili, M. (Jan. 16, 2015). Tom Doctoroff Touts Intergrating Tradtional, Digital Branding. Retrieved from

Holmes, D. (2007). The Fallacies and Fortunes of ‘Interactivity’ in Communication Theory.  Proceedings of the Media Ecology Association, Volume 8.

McGoldrick, B. (n.d.). Tradtional vs. Social Media. Retreived from:

Young, A. (2014). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital ERA, Palgrave McMillan, New York, NY.

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