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Digital Media: It’s NOT Cheap

It is a tragedy perpetrated by uniformed bankers who insist that digital media is more effective and less expensive than traditional media. Actually, this is more than a tragedy, it is a myth.

If you bank decides to go digital, then you should know the following:

1. Digital requires more people-resources than traditional advertising.  Where are those people coming from?  Where’s the budget for that?

2. Digital requires far more management than traditional advertising.  In the digital world, content has to be ever new, ever changing.  Customers want to interact.  If you’re thinking that all you need is an electronic brochure, masquerading as a web page, well, hey, I’ve got a bridge you’ll want to buy.

3. Digital is not a one-size-fits-all media.  The day of designing a web page and everybody can see it is over — if it ever existed.  Just making your web page compatible with major browsers — and smart phones — is a big undertaking.   Digital media takes many forms.  Managing the delivery channel takes a smart person.  That costs money.

4. Digital media blurs the line between copy and design.  One web site may contain ad copy, graphic design, animation and video plus database functions.  It takes a lot of smart people to orchestrate a modern web site.  Smart people cost money.

5. Digital media needs daily management.  Digital can’t be put on cruise control.  Stuff happens.  Your company’s digital offerings need to be monitored.  That take time.

Here are three big reasons why digital advertising is more costly:

  • Digital is more labor-intensive. Agencies must create more executions for a wider range of media, and many executions must be dynamic, allowing or requiring frequent changes and updates over the life of a campaign. This built-in fluidity requires more media planning/buying and creative resources.
  • More digital production must be done in-house, requiring agencies to acquire in-house digital production people and technology. Otherwise, the entire project has to be outsourced, negating any benefits the agency may realize through offering digital services.
  • Digital breaks down the lines between media, creative and production. Agencies typically have to find ways to merge and/or reorganize departments to achieve digital functionality.

So, should avoid digital media?

Of course not.  You just need to engage with your eyes open, willing to ditch  your preconcetions and accommodate the realities.

Digital media can be super productive.  And it can be a very efficient communications media.  But, efficient doesn’t directly translate to less expense.  And it certainly requires more management supervision.