When I first entered the marketing profession, there was a popular saying, “Every company is a media company.” The saying was punchy and catchy, and fascinating because media companies themselves were in the midst of drastic change and adaptation. For example, as a business, The New York Times looks very different today than it did a decade ago. Buzzfeed used to be the place to work, and now it’s little more than a penny stock.
It’s hard to remember the conventional heuristics about an industry amidst this kind of shake up. Ideally, we can remember the past strengths of media in order to understand where it’s most effective in the future.
Brian Morrissey writes, “At its best, media is aspirational. That aspiration is rooted in the natural human desire for transformation. The best of magazines promise a better version of yourself.”
Or as Christopher Kimball says, “Stay aligned with your core and do things that are unique that nobody else can offer. Screw the algorithm because you’re just going to end up doing what everybody else does.”
If you believe that your company is a media company, then staying aligned with your core and doing things nobody else can would be one of the best fundamental approaches to your company’s marketing strategy.
Put the extra budget into art direction. Explore a story that your competitors aren’t willing to put the elbow grease into. Teach your customers something they can’t learn from your competitors. The bar is both higher and lower than you think.