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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

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Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Friday, July 10, 2009

"Traditional" media isn't a thing

Traditional doesn't mean better.

"Traditional" doesn't even mean good. It means what we used to do, for a long time.

The traditional way to cure illnesses is by draining blood, or using magic herbs, or any number of other things that don't really work all that well. Or at least not as good as newer, better things.

But why would we refer to "traditional" media as something worth doing, just because we used to do it?

The "traditional" way to get from New York to California is to ride a horse there. Or maybe the train. Or hey, maybe even to drive. But that's not the fastest, cheapest, or at all most efficient way to get there, is it?

Does it matter if your method is "traditional" or not? Is it good? Will it work the best? The traditional way to lose weight is by eating well and exercising, which is still the best way.

That's all that really matters. I'm not saying that some older ways of doing things aren't still the best ways. I'm just saying that old doesn't mean good anymore than new does.

Also, using the internet isn't new, it's now.

Breaking budgets up into traditional and new (yes, some companies do this) is dumb, too. Break up budgets into stuff we really, really think will work, and stuff that might not, but is worth trying. And just because it's the older way, the way we've always done it, the traditional way, doesn't mean it's any more likely to work.

Buying lots of targeted Facebook ads to drive traffic to a website will probably work. Is that new media, or traditional? It's a pretty simple, tried and tested approach for getting people to a website. It works, I've done it many times myself. But it's also using Facebook, which isn't that old a platform.

So do the words "traditional" and "new" really help us? I'm not so sure.


Image by Flickr user Otto Phokus


beverley said...

How does Batman fit into all this?

Just kidding. I agree that categorizing traditional and new media is a little silly. One shouldn't select media based on such things. And often the two can be integrated together in a way that makes the whole campaign work better together.

Hopefully clients and agencies aren't feeling confined by the restraints of what the media is... and thinking more about how it can work best for the message. The media isn't always the message!

Joel Kelly said...

Haha! Exactly right, Bev. And Batman feels the same way, so that's how it all ties together :P

Ian Conrad said...

You're right. I think the same thing with Web 2.0. "Is it Web 2.0?" I don't know, it's just the Web, that's how it is now, these things improve over time.

Joel Kelly said...

Good point, Ian.

Glenmore said...

I agree 100%. So much 'New' media is actually proven media. Maybe we should start calling it new-to-you old-for-everyone-else media for clients.

Joel Kelly said...

Haha, exactly Glen.

Colino said...

I notice these are now very old (in our lightspeed digital world) blogs and comments....does that mean they've becone traditional?