Wednesday, March 17, 2010

There's Always an Angle

iMedia Connection writer Chris Tolles, in discussing "5 Marketing Battles That Make No Sense," one of which is placing print vs. online in a Manichean struggle:

"Pundits and prognosticators have to make a living too -- and they do so by positing great changes and paradigm shifts. Indeed, there has been an online revolution, and things are different. But too often, in the interest of making a point, people deliberately create a series of harmful false choices. At least in the above cases, optimizing these choices means embracing the 'and' instead of being content with the 'or.'"

I once mentioned before the "hot box" that was introduced at a newspaper I worked at in the 1970s -- it was an idea just thought up as a whim and probable throwaway by the designer, who was amazed that the editors bought it. The editors, for their part, could not imagine that that was what happened. Had it been a politician, they would have been skeptical. But as journalists, they saw themselves as philistines in the company of artists, and therefore 1) unequipped to make any challenge and 2) not understanding that everything was not to be taken with equal seriousness.

Thankfully we're often more realistic about redesigns, but with Internet pundits you see the same thing. Yes, things are different. Yes, the person stating "everything must change now!" may be trying to get your attention to sell you ultimately on 20 pct. of his views. Or just to get anyone's attention. Or he may actually believe it all and that it must be fought to the death, which is why he is a consultant and not a career-track employee. Don't oppose changes, but common sense is not the same as opposition to change, even though you may be told it is. If 90 pct. of your ad revenue comes from print, that must mean it is a pretty important part of your business, not a useless appendage from the 19th century.

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