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In a traditional ad like a billboard or television commercial, you are limited to the medium; 60 seconds of airtime for a commercial and the number of poster sheets that fit on the billboard. But the internet offer a landscape that stretches boundaries farther than the eye can see. In traditional advertising, these boundaries limit what you can communicate to your audience. More often times than not you’ll notice that the majority of traditional ads spend their efforts on telling you about their product or service. But on the web, everything is flipped around. Instead of telling you about a product or service, you are shown the product or service in action. Take a recent New York Times article where Methodist University Hospital in Memphis released a live video webcast of a patient’s craniotomy while the patient remained awake. No billboard or print ad necessary touting the expertise of Methodist University Hospital. You can see it for your own eyes. Social networking, webcasting and online video are a wonderful thing for marketers in that they allow them to “show” their audience rather than “tell” . But mediums that happen in real-time, like a video casting, can be a double-edged sword. In Real-time information scenarios, you don’t really have control of the outcome versus scenarios (print ads for example) where the creator has control of what is released. In this way, marketers carry a greater risk if things don’t go well during the web cast or video cast, but also a greater reward if it turns out to be positive. I’m not saying one is better than the other, however. I believe smart marketers will use a combination of showing and telling across traditional and non-traditional mediums. Finding the right media mix is a lot easier if you can utilize the power of what the internet has to offer. After all, it’s not brain surgery. Or is it?

Enzo F. Cesario

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