Thoughts on Mediumism… and why it fails

Someone once told me that marketing has changed more in the past 5 years than the 50 years before that. They were right. Digital transformation was birthed due to unprecedented developments in consumer-based technology. The classic notion that ‘bigger is better’ doesn’t apply to a generation where most people attain information, conduct business and establish connections on mobile phones.

These trends are changing things so quickly that marketers are always searching for the next great platform to promote their services, distribute content or sell products. This has led to the phenomena known as MEDIUMISM, and I want to explain why it tends to result in failure.

Mediumism isn’t a word you can find in a dictionary (YET). Brian Solis coined it recently, and it highlights one salient thing; Bigger isn’t always better and neither is Newer. Rapid changes in Marketing processes and methods keeps the industry on its toes. Businesses fear becoming outdated to customers, thus being overtaken by competitors.

If it ain’t broke…

As such, many will jump at the earliest opportunity to capitalise on the newest mediums with the assumption that it will appeal to their base. These actions will help determine which companies truly know their customers and which don’t. As Solis (who we interviewed recently) puts it, “mediumism highlights the process of placing inordinate or excessive value onto a medium without considering its relevance”. I believe this term strictly addresses companies that have not done their homework regarding what their customers truly desire.

If you constantly chase what’s new, you’ll end up falling behind. The world will always outpace you, never the other way round. By overemphasising the value of mediums as opposed to the tangible value of your company’s product, you’ll never be able to establish a good connection with customers. As the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?”. Although it is important to evolve your strategy over time, which includes trial-and-error, the margins for that in an era where everyone can reach each other so quickly are very slim.

Do what works for you

If your current strategy works, don’t overhaul it in the hope that a newer form of packaging will drastically improve company performance. Chances are they won’t. The medium is a tool to help you reach a certain point. What you put on the medium, as well as the relevance of the platform to your customer-base is what matters.

Conversely, if your old or current forms of marketing are failing to reach fanbases, you’ll have to learn to mix it up. However, ensure you find the right pathways to YOUR specific customer base. Otherwise your business will end up in the same spot as before. Going forward without having made a smart plan based on extensive research will unlikely yield fruitful results.

Balance is Key

The available medium is just the platform for you to market your business. The main selling point still rests on your services, product and content. If you overvalue the medium and therefore neglect the importance of what you want to promote, you’re destined to fail. You NEED to be where your customers are in order to remain relevant. Treat it like a scale, balance is key.

Notable mediums like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Blogs are all available on the market but you don’t have to be on ALL of them. Find ones that align with the bigger mission, whatever that may be. There are things that cannot be replaced, and mediums aren’t one of them. In today’s world, there is no shortage of channels to promote business and that’s where you can’t get lost.

Don’t fall for Mediumism. Find the right method for yourself and your customers. That is always a foundation for future success.

Suggested Further Reading:

Vivienne K Neale Digital is a digital marketing agency in Hertfordshire, UK. We aim to help SMEs overcome marketing hurdles and create compelling digital content that drives results. If you need a leg-up with your content marketing or social media, get in touch via our contact page for a free Skype consultation 🙂

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