Communications channels through which to promote your products or services have changed more in the past few years than in the previous 50 years. Not since the 1940s and the advent of television, have information tools changed so drastically in such a short period of time. The pace of change is intensifying. There is a shift from traditional media to online information sites. At the same time the mobile communications world continues to grow. Both of those trends are moving communications from targeting broad-based groups, to peer-personal messaging.
Communications Shifting From Offline to Online
Most of what used to be called traditional communications tools, television, radio, newspapers, magazines has been around for decades, if not hundreds of years. These venues face competition if not complete replacement by websites and other online tools. Some experts predict the demise of all print media within the next 20 years.
A Universal Website and Online Presence
For a company or product to be taken seriously these days, a new reality has emerged; it must have a company website and an online presence that is managed and regularly updated. In fact, the nearly instant ability to change the message based on current events is a factor in the growth of online tools. Even the traditional TV, radio, and print media now have online versions of their offline communication tools. This allows listeners and viewers to scan the latest newspaper headlines, watch a TV show they missed earlier, or listen to their favorite radio station from Boise, Montana, even while working in London.
The Growth of Digital, Social Communication Tools
While the terminology has changed as the field evolves, moving from being called new media, to emerging media to digital media, the tools are evolving as well. From simple brochure websites providing information to e-commerce stores with shopping carts, to e-messaging communications sent via regular email to registered receivers and customers. With the advent of social media such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Plaxo and others, companies, brands and the media are struggling to understand how to use these new mediums to present their messages. The rapid growth of blogging has extended the tools by which companies and individuals can express product attributes, promote personal points of view, unite or educate like-minded audiences in the next town,or around the world.
Surging Mobile Technology Completes a Profound Transition
The greatest advancement in communication tools may lie ahead of us. The phenomenal growth of mobile communications devices and their increasing hand-held capabilities have moved messaging deliver from the home, office or car to literally to anywhere a person happens to be. Without this level of mobile activity, Twitter would not have become the force it has. This potentially makes all communication real time, meaning new information can reach potential audiences any minute, anywhere, being delivered as text content, streaming video or voice. With the GPS allocator features built in to many mobile devices, it also means content can be customized as never before to an individual's specific location, interests and needs.
Jan Wondra began writing in 1979 for the "Milwaukee Journal," "Minneapolis & St. Paul Skyway News," Sauk County Media and "Adoptive Family" magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism and design from the University of Wisconsin.