Marketing Crisis: Adapt or Perish

Newspapers and magazines are desperate. Really, really desperate. They’re begging and pleading. The offers are becoming so outlandish as to be both laughable and sad at the same time. They are literally trying to give it away, just to be able to count you in their customer tallies and appeal to advertisers.

I’ll resist the thought of comparing the demise of print media to the mid-life crisis male who empties his 401k to buy a new convertible and fresh round of hair plugs, because there might at least be a tiny sliver of success in his pursuits (see: Barnum, P.T.). The print media world can cling to no such hope…but no one seems to have told them.

It seems that every week we learn of a new round of layoffs as the realities of a dying industry come into full focus. 

I go to the mailbox to retrieve my magazines – Time, Money, Sports Illustrated – and find that they have essentially devolved into glorified pamphlets. I get them all for free, not because I’m in the media but because I had frequent flyer points that required they be used for magazine subscriptions.

Don’t miss that point – so desperate to get their product into the hands of readers, magazines are forcing their print-only versions onto the public as the only option in a “rewards” program.

When I first read of this bizarre limited choice for my reward, I thought I would at least get the digital versions to read on my iPad. Nope. Only the print version was eligible. Why? Because the archaic, outdated world of newspapers and magazines continue to cling to the belief that they have a future in producing hard copies.

Iconic publications are deluding themselves to the point of bankruptcy. It’s not just magazines. The online ads for newspapers are even more pathetic in their attempts to attract your patronage. You now have the option of paying a nominal fee for the exact same product they offer for free. In fact, quite often you’ll see the advertisement inviting you to subscribe while you’re reading the free version.

The model is busted. The system makes no sense.

Why does this any of this matter so much that I felt the need to write about it? To help your organization avoid a similar fate. 

I’d like to help you steer clear of the iceberg that has devastated the print media world to the point that the string quartet is playing one final song before the whole thing plunges into darkness. Much like the Titanic, the print world never saw it coming. Once disaster struck, chaos broke out and the mess grew even messier. Don’t let that happen to your organization.


4 Steps To Avoiding A Marketing Crisis

Remove Your Blinders – For reasons that remain a mystery, the print media world was incredibly slow to recognize the developing power of a world going digital. From the first moment someone hit “send” on an email, it would seem that the best and brightest would have begun planning for the day when no one wanted ink on their fingers or stacks of magazines in the trash. Either because they had no ideas or were filled with a hubris that defies logic, the publishers of your favorite magazine and newspaper just kept plodding along until the business reality slapped them in the face.

Relinquish Your Personal Preferences – The older I get, the more stuck in my ways I become. That’s not healthy. Just because I like something doesn’t mean it’s the best route, product, or habit. Your preferred methodology may very well be in need of a tune up, but because it doesn’t fit with your mantra of “this is how we’ve always done it,” you shut down the idea right from the start. For those involved in Direct Mail fundraising, this can be an especially detrimental trap for many of the same reasons we covered in regards to the print media world. Don’t be afraid to test new approaches and strategies. Your audience (customers and donors) are rapidly changing the way they take in information. Are you adapting to change with them? If not, your otherwise outstanding message may never be heard.

Reach Out For Insight – You don’t have to tackle this daunting task alone. In fact, it’s best if you don’t. When it’s time for your annual physical, do you just take care of it by yourself at home? (We’ll forego the obvious “turn your head and cough” scene.) Invite an established, qualified expert to help assess the current state of your marketing and communication strategies. Let them point out what you do well and what blind spots are holding you back. Undergo a full communication exam with the commitment to change where needed. Our team at Hobson Media would be glad to help.

Resist Stagnation – Yes, it’s MUCH easier to do nothing. That theory has led to many a broken New Year Resolution, shattered diet plan, and the demise of the print media. There’s not a single facet of life made better by doing nothing. You certainly don’t need to sprint after every shiny, glitzy, overpriced concept that comes your way, but taking time to carefully consider your current messaging practices is vital to staying relevant and effective.


Hobson Media is ready to help examine and improve your Communication and Marketing strategies. Contact us for more information on helping you avoid the same iceberg struck by the print media!

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