> 8 mediacasting ideas for 2008

The goal of most corporate and association marketers is to use digital and online content to generate actions, not to attract eyeballs. The content doesn’t need to be on your website — the content needs to be in the hands, and ears, and eyes, and heads of your members or customers.

Action for Savvy Marketers:

Unless your business model is advertising, page views are not the correct metric to measure your online strategy. Action, engagement, sales, enrollment, loyalty, retention, increased contributions, advocacy and education are business goals that require you to get content in your audience’s hands, eyes and heads — in any way they want to receive it. In 2008, let your content extend beyond your website. Cast it out in any way you can.

Media + casting:

We’re not a big fan of buzzwords and new-media lingo. But sometimes, mashing together metaphors, terms and concepts people already understand results in a buzzword that helps translate a techish-sounding trend into an easy-to-grasp concept.

In 2008, we’re hoping such a mashup buzzword — “mediacasting” — will catch on. We’ll explain the definition in a moment. But first, we need to note that the trends and practices that are reflected in our 2008 word-of-the-year are already well on their way to universal adoption by major association and corporate digital marketers. However, what’s missing is the realization that all of the practices and trends are not random and unrelated developments. They are not a bunch of shiny new objects that have nothing to do with one another: They are pieces of a whole that are fitting together nicely.
It’s 2008. We hope if you’re reading this, you’re already a marketer or media person who has embraced the reality that we’re all in the media business. As an individual, you can create and distribute media. As a group, you and your colleagues have the ability to create and distribute media that would have been beyond the grasp of all but a few regulated organizations just a few years ago.
But one thing is a little confusing. The idea that we all can create and utilize media in our businesses does not mean we should all view ourselves as being in the traditional business of media.
In the past, the business models of traditional media companies revolved around revenue generated by subscription and advertising activities. Today, when every institution and individual can create and distribute media in an endless variety of ways, the “business model” of media can be focused on economics related to customer loyalty, action or advocacy.
When your business model is based on metrics measuring loyalty and action, your digital strategy is less focused on page views and traffic and more focused on engagement and results. Most importantly, the digital strategies of associations and corporate marketers should be more focused on distribution of loyalty- and action-oriented content, rather than on advertising-based business models revolving around the conversion of “eyeballs” into page views or click-throughs.
So, how does this relate to the idea of mediacasting?
By mediacasting, we’re simply using the “-casting” metaphor that we all associate with the term broadcasting — the radio and TV idea of pushing out content that people anywhere can pick up if they have the right device. For the past century, broadcasting was dependent upon the airwaves and, therefore, was something heavily regulated by governments and controlled by a few major corporations and institutions.
Today, the metaphor of -casting no longer has to be preceded by the word “broad” — it no longer depends on getting the FCC’s permission or paying large sums to media companies. Today, -casting is as simple as sending out an e-mail newsletter. Indeed, today, there are very few forms of digital media than can’t be distributed (broadcasted) in myriad ways. (See the accompanying post: 8 Mediacasting Ideas for 2008.)
Marketers have been dabbling with the concept of -casting for several years. While most corporate and association websites are still heavily focused on the goal of attracting visitors to the site (focusing on traffic), ideas like offering an email newsletter or an RSS feed of new stories have slowly caught on.
Few marketers, however, have fully embraced a web strategy that focuses primarily on the goal of pushing content out — rather than drawing traffic in. In 2008, we believe the baby steps of the past few years will become a stampede as marketers finally come to realize that the message is what will drive customer and member action.

Bottom line:

The goal of most corporate and association marketers should be to use digital and online content to generate actions, not to attract eyeballs or other “advertising-model” metric. Content that generates action and engenders loyalty doesn’t need to be on your website — the content needs to be in the hands, and ears, and eyes, and heads of your members or customers.