Is Traditional Media Dead?

05 March 2009

In one of my classes, we were fortunate enough to have an industry speaker come in to talk about how social media is profoundly changing the marketing landscape. The speaker, a representative from RIM, spoke about how traditional media (i.e. TV, newspapers and magazines) was no longer effective in selling Blackberry devices. Buyers were mainly looking to one another and doing that via social networking tools (such as forums, blogs and Facebook)

When was the last time you bought something based on an ad you saw on TV, newspaper or magazine? The last pseudo-large purchase I made was for a Canon 50mm f1.8 lens as I needed a good portrait lens to take for events.   The process looked somewhat like this:


  1. Started browsing forums for posts on portrait lenses
  2. Came across a thread that talked about the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens
  3. Several users had positive comments about the lens, a few did not.
  4. I type the lens into Google, the first result is the page for the lens. It’s received 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 800 reviews.
  5. I skip over the positive reviews, and read only the bad, most say it’s a good lens but their main concern was the plastic mount.
  6. Convinced that I can live with a plastic mount, I go to to search for the retailer with the best price.
  7. the best retailer isn’t in my area, so I head to the nearest Black’s as they do price matching
  8. I ask the salesperson to get me the lens. That is the only question I ask him.
  9. I show him a printed page of the price at the cheap retailer. I pay for the lens and leave.


Not once was I ever influenced by the traditional sources of media, nor did I resort to asking the salesman for information. This is one example, but I can tell you this is how I typically shop. I’m guessing that’s how you do too.