Media agencies are increasingly engaging their information technology (IT) leaders to assist in new media strategies for their clients. The shift from long-understood media distribution channels to the murkier, more transient ones that comprise new media is forcing media agencies to re-align their core competencies with IT disciplines.
Content is information. Regardless of the form the content may take. With few exceptions, it is created, modified, distributed, displayed and stored as information.
Media is technology. By definition Media is the physical layer supporting the content. The medium by which this information is communicated.
In today’s digital ecosystem, the perception that the two are mutually exclusive is obsolete: Enter IT.
Media technologies and the content they enable are intertwined.Â Optimally, the technology supporting the content is completely transparent to the consumer. In fact, today the two are synonymous. The content itself is often referred to as “media.”
Having said this, a case can easily be made that all previous technology/content associations can be seen through this lens. From their earliest days, newspaper, radio & television are all technologies supporting content forms that could not be communicated otherwise. Even chiseling characters on stone tablets is a form of this relationship.
The key difference is interaction. Bi-direction. Dialogue vs. monologue. The new technology/content symbiosis allows for a level of consumer interaction that is beginning to align the content more with the concept of softwareÂ than simply entertainment.Â The content becomes part of the mechanism of engagement with the technology. The technology becomes the communication conduit between the brands and the consumer.
Through this conduit anything is possible. Virtually any form of traditional marketing engagement can be realized or enhanced through these channels. Additionally, the interactivity of the media allows for new methods of engagement and measurement that were previously impossible. Though, to most effectively utilize the platform by which the engagement is occurring, behavioral and social patterns must be factored as part of the content strategy.
It is also important to recognize that the conversation need not (and should not) be confined to only the marketing messaging. Most companies have evolved highly sophisticated IT structures designed to manage their business. These structures are often a rich m-lange of archived and real-time content that can be mined to significantly augment marketing efforts. However, exposing the formerly private domains of the IT groups does not come without some pain. Long established data security precepts must be rethought and recreated in order to safely allow the world inside. But given the public’s thirst for relevant, informative content, the results are worth the pain.
One thing is apparent, this evolving landscape is necessitating a new set of disciplines within Marcomm agencies. In order to make the successful transition from traditional to new media, a key role must be played by marketing savvy IT professionals. And conversely, MarCom professionals must be ready to dip their toes in the IT waters in order to effectively leverage this new communications medium.