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Balancing media and message

John Riley
Back in the 1950s and 1960s, visionaries held that being among the first to use a new medium - such as television advertising - was a positive statement. Luminaries such as Marshall McLuhan encapsulated that thinking in the popular mantra of the time, "The medium is the message."

john.riley@rbi.co.uk

Groundswell

However, with digitisation now allowing global personalisation, the medium is becoming irrelevant. It is just a tool. The message now has to be relevant to people in the target audience. The more we personalise messages, the more complex the task. The IT director has an increasingly major hybrid technical/marketing role to play. Technical capability becomes enmeshed in broader issues like the trade-off between intrusiveness and trust in customer interaction. Getting the balance right is an underestimated skill that is fast becoming a major issue for all companies.

The IT director now has to take an active role in understanding and interpreting the broader business implications in adopting and routinely using new media channels, whether digital TV, e-mails, SMS, Wap and GPRS.

These all require different approaches to the front-end and will place new demands on infrastructure, bandwidth and integration skills. From now on, it is the message that counts, not the medium.


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