The Media Pivot

If you’re over a certain age like me, you can’t use the word pivot without thinking back to Ross, Rachel and Chandler. I still laugh today thinking back on that scene. It was a classic moment in television history for sure.

Television is that “traditional media” outlet that was supposed to die a long time ago at the hands of “digital media”. Today’s media landscape is as blurry as it has ever been, and while I’m trying to break the habit of thinking about media as either traditional or digital, those distinctions are deeply rooted. In reality though, it’s more about media in general and the evolution, convergence and pivots that we are facing and managing.

I read something once that quoted Lee Clow, the creative advertising guru, as saying “everything is media”. Everything in the space between a brand and a consumer is media. If you think like that, there are far more spaces for media to live in than traditional and digital.

As paid media professionals today, we’re responsible for providing the platform for the message or content. Yes, we have to know traditional channels and the roles they play. We might still have a need for that large format video screen in living rooms across the country. And yes, we have to know digital channels; how to navigate ad blocking, brand safety, bot traffic; and we have to understand what to do to drive leads and conversions without tracking cookies. We must be knowledgeable on how traditional and digital channels are converging and how programmatic buying is influencing just about everything.

But, we also just have to be experts in understanding context in general. The content is the star. It is our job to determine what environment is best suited so the content is most relevant and impactful to the target – and it might not always be what we once pictured media to be…

  • Is the right context on the packaging?
  • On the shelf?
  • In an experience?
  • On the website?
  • In the Amazon storefront?
  • Through a partnership?
  • In the Facebook feed?
  • On a billboard?
  • In a high impact mobile unit?

The options are quite literally endless. So, I’m trying to throw out the idea of traditional vs. digital media when I approach a client problem. It’s a challenge because many of us have our careers grounded in one of these, and there’s still an opportunity to train foundational skills from each side of coin. It creates well roundedness. We’ll continue to be asked to specifically develop digital plans, and we will when there’s a specific place for it. But the opportunity to truly create integrated plans (and mean it) is here. Step back and truly think about solutions and not about display versus out-of-home. It’s refreshing.

Looking for an integrated media plan? Let’s talk. 

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