Plan B Week, Day 2: Surviving the Media Meltdown

How Are You Rethinking Your Role in the Media Economy? Join the Conversation

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It's Day 2 of Plan B Week -- which is sort of like Shark Week, but with (slightly) less gore. Each day this week we're running reader responses to my recent "Media Guy" column titled "Topic A in Rapidly Shrinking Medialand: What's Your Plan B?" in which I wrote about soul-searching in the media business in the wake of massive restructuring and layoffs. (The first batch of responses appeared here, as well as in the print edition of Advertising Age.) Feel free to chime in through comments with your own Plan B.

Shark Week
Photo: Discovery Channel
ROUGH WATERS: It's Plan B Week -- sort of like Shark Week, but with (slightly) less gore.
Surviving the Media Meltdown:
Plan B Week: Day 1

Michael Gale, principal at Strategic Oxygen in Austin, Texas writes, "At some level one looks at these changes and realizes that they were an overreaction to two factors. Both factors are real, yet the agencies and clients are not really offering a structured alternative yet, just a cleansing process.

"Factor One: Agencies talk a lot about metrics and integration but have in general failed to deliver in a powerful enough way to help clients defend the budgets. It is not that we have grown fat on promises, but we have, as an industry, really failed to get integration. A CMO at one of the largest technology brands has said this to us and that is the person who should be most convinced. As these clients' brands have needed to be more nimble and integrated, their agencies have either stood still or not adequately moved with them.

"Factor Two: Google is, in many ways, agencies' enemy. It has made marketing look like a numbers game, and again we have failed to appropriately explain how to integrate with online and search -- or, more importantly, describe and measure what we lose by not using alternatives.

"I feel some of these awful cuts are an attempt to adapt but without a clear plan. Dinosaurs never adapted to change; they slowly (or rapidly, if you saw "Armageddon") disappeared. I do not see this with agencies, but we have yet to see the vision and light at the end of the tunnel that says we understand the root problems and how to solve them."

Yvette C. Hammett, staff reporter at The Tampa Tribune, writes, "Plan B? Doing what? We had a rat catcher come to our office who holds a master's degree in integrated technology. After sending out hundreds of resumes, he ended up at a local pest-control company catching rats! My 401(k) has all but disappeared, my savings account is near empty and my son still has four years of high school before college. UGH!!!"

Marci Diehl of DoubleVision Creative in Canandaigua, N.Y., writes, "Your article on Plan B was like hearing a call from the mothership: I am not abandoned! There are fellow residents of the planet of creatives who think as I do!

"I've been a freelance writer for over 25 years, writing for magazines. In 1996, I started my business as a commercial copywriter, editor, creative developer and consultant for marketing-communications projects. I work for myself, no employees (never wanted any), and collaborate with other independent creative professionals.

"Yes, I am a dinosaur. I'm uncomfortable with the new on-line mania. I like to read the newspaper. I like to hold a magazine in my hand and have the luxury of turning pages, reading with relaxation. I love long-form writing. When books were printed with ink, I used to love to open a new one and just inhale the scent before I inhaled the words and story.

"I do Twitter. I blog. I'm scoping out the social media for its business purposes. The only fun of it is that I can create and write. I hate the tech stuff, but as a writer, I'm always learning (another part I love), so I don't rule out anything.

"I love 'our people' too, and I, too, believe in us. The forms might change (after all, books were once hand-copied by monks) -- but the creative drive survives. So I, too, feel hope.

"I am fighting the good fight. I do it by morphing and evolving. I do it one day at a time."

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