Your fate is in your hands; up until now businesses have been able to use newspapers, social networks – other publishers – to help them get their messages across. Marketing experts have often emphasised media coverage and social networks (word of mouth) as a way of promoting your business. However, two new reports published today suggest you could soon be on your own.

Today’s Financial Times reveals a stark warning for the traditional print media world. The analysts Deloitte are predicting a massive downturn in advertising revenues for the newspaper and magazine industry, threatening the existence of many titles.

At the same time, the latest MIT Technology Review claims that the writing is on the wall for many social networks. Already a number of social network start-ups have been taken over by competitors or simply disappeared.

So where does that leave you? If the available printed media is shrinking and the social networks are disappearing, just how are you going to be able to promote your business?

More than ever before it is going to depend upon what you do – particularly online. Businesses can no longer rely on the media to promote them, or on using traditional marketing tools, such as advertising. Instead, you are going to have to forge ever closer links directly with your niche group of customers. It is more evidence of the need to narrow even further your specific targets and to form really close relationships with your customers and prospects. That way it will not matter if your favourite social network disappears, or if every newspaper in the land dies.

The survivors in the coming year or two will be those companies who realise that their web presence cannot simply be an online brochure. Customer-centric organisations will survive – the rest will go the same way as newspaper advertising, down the tubes.

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