Social media and the purchasing dinosaurs

Social media and the purchasing dinosaurs

There is a struggle between new and traditional media. No this isn’t 1998 – it’s 2011 and there is still a struggle. The dinosaurs in the purchasing media need to wise up very quickly before it’s too late.

The new media rules of engagement

The way we engage with an audience today is fundamentally different from the past. Whereas with printed media, distribution is limited by logistics, the internet delivers to a global audience. Communication is in real time – even 24 hour rolling news can’t compete with twitter in terms of getting news around the globe in seconds. Recently, I heard 3 different variations of a topical joke through social media channels before the news item it referred to was reported by the BBC.

Purchasing Insight logoBut it’s the interactive nature of new media that makes it so different – not just the interaction with the audience but the interaction with the competition too. The old way is to ignore the competition indeed to pretend they don’t exist. The new way is to recognize that your readers aren’t stupid and to understand that they’re getting very media savvy themselves.

Being successful in the on-line world is a direct function of the quality, relevance and volume of content and inbound links. The search engines know it and their algorithms are built around this. The dynamics of social networks like twitter and facebook work on the same principle. Walled gardens don’t work neither does competitor denial.

The traditional media view

Not everyone agrees of course. In an interesting email exchange recently with Supply Management, Paul Snell, deputy managing editor explained their stance: “Ultimately we are a business, and it does us (and CIPS, who share the money we make) no good to highlight those outlets that are competing for the same revenue from advertisers and sponsors as we are (just as we wouldn’t promote a rival print magazine such as Procurement Leaders).”

I understand and to an extent have some respect the Supply Management view, but I do believe that it would be in the interests of Supply Management and ultimately in the interest of their readers,  to get more up to speed on what is going on in cyberspace. It is counter intuitive to point to external “competing” resources but if you look at some of the leading on-line resources out there – they do it all the time. They have to to survive in the cyber ecosystem because if they don’t play the game, no one will link to them and that, in cyberspace, is deadly.

What’s more, the occasional deferential nod of recognition to your competition tells readers that you are actually in touch with reality.

Well established and respected journals may have a captive market and to an extent, they can play to whatever rules you like, but Barnes and Noble thought that when Amazon appeared in the ’90s. It’s all very counter intuitive. Even the mighty google is being beaten up by facebook. Facebook is free and valued at over $50 squillion. Who would have thought?

If you take a walled garden approach to your content, believing that your readers need not go beyond your site, your readers will soon be someone else’s readers.


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