Digital…traditional…which way to go?

08 February 2010

There’s no right way to go.

Within the marketing industry, with perhaps the tiiiiny exception of the recession and the economy, digital has been the buzz word for the past few years.

It’s got its advantages.  But it’s not the only way to go.  Or even the right way to go.  You need to choose the right channel for your business…regardless of whether you work in retail or e-tail.

If you’re reading a blog about tech PR (a wildly entertaining one, no less), I’m going to venture a guess that you’re probably on, or at least have heard of, LinkedIn.  Since June 2008, they’ve grown here in the UK from under 800,000 members to more than 3 million.  They don’t do above the line marketing. They do some events.  They don’t do much online marketing.  But they do do PR; and most of that is basic media relations, to “traditional” media.

I’m not saying this is from PR alone.  LinkedIn is blessed with a very charismatic and wonderful founder (and sometimes-CEO) in Reid Hoffman.  But what I hope this highlights is that despite the fact that LinkedIn is very much an online, social media, Web 2.0 company, offline communications has had a clear impact on their business objectives – to increase brand profile and grow their membership in the UK.

But that’s not to say traditional media is the be all and end all, either.  Digital plays an important role in helping LinkedIn engage, both with its membership but also its critics.

Some of you may have heard of WeCanDoBiz, a local start-up launched as an alternative to LinkedIn.  Ian uses social media and online news coverage to provide “the other side of the story” (this same tactic is used on his blog and Twitter feed…).  In doing this, he engages with LinkedIn, but also creates a platform for LinkedIn to counter the points and share these directly with its stakeholders – be they members, investors or advertisers.  And that’s where social media and digital PR excels – at facilitating a direct conversation.

So, there’s not necessarily one right way to go when it comes to comms.  You just need to know where you’re going…

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