The Generation Gap

Tom Biedenharn
Content

“Why are you doing it THAT way,” Fuddyduddy asked Whippersnapper. “That’s not the way it should be done.”

“It’s okay, old-timer,” Whippersnapper replied dismissively.  “This is the new and improved way.”

With that, Whippersnapper hit the Send button.  “There. I just invited 824 of my closest friends to my upcoming event.”

Fuddyduddy about choked on his pipe.  “824!?!  I have 5, and that’s just enough to ensure I have a foursome on the weekend, depending on who’s feeling up to it.”

“C’mon, Fuddy. Get with the program,” Whippersnapper said, blowing vapor circles from her e-cigarette.  “Where are your Facebook posts, Tweets and Vines?  You’ve got to know how to get the word out these days.”

“Vines? I’ve got acres of vines. And apple and cherry trees to boot. And they all help make a fine batch of marmalade come summertime.”

“OMG,” Whippersnapper cried. “Don’t you know that billions of dollars are spent on Google AdWords each year? Now that’s how to target your message.”

“Hmmm.  I hear-tell that many of the older crowd still don’t have the Internet, and they’ve got money to spend too.”

“Maybe so, but email accounts continue to grow for all age groups, and that is a fast, low-cost way to send out messages.”

Fuddyduddy pulled his handy Direct Marketing Association 2014 Statistical Fact Book from his metal storage cabinet and proclaimed, “Seems that direct mail is still alive and well, with many marketers — including retailers — seeing higher response to their direct paper mail than in the 1980s.”

Whippersnapper absentmindedly scrolled through the latest streamed photos stored on her smartphone and replied, “But don’t you see that using a QR Code or MMS messages combined with CPC advertising or NFC technology can ultimately help your ROI?”

“I don’t know much about all those ABCs,” Fuddyduddy said, “but I do know that the best way to communicate with people is the old-fashion way – in person, in print, over the phone or over the airways.”

“No, today, you’ve got to use clouds, blogs, podcasts and Wi-Fi to be seen and heard.”

“Harrumph!” Fuddyduddy harrumphed, and slapped on his Walkman.  “I can see there’s no use trying to talk sense to you.  You go your way and I’ll go mine.”

Just then Commonsense walked in.  “Listen, you two.  Don’t you know there’s plenty of room for both the new and old communication tools in today’s world?  Group interactions and ads on TV, radio and billboards, when used right, can be just as effective as websites, social media and push technologies. Public Relations today doesn’t mean one way or another.  It means we have the luxury and flexibility to share and combine available resources to reach the most people in the most strategic way possible.  Sometime that may be face-to-face; sometimes it may be email blasts; sometimes it may be a combination of the two.  Not every communication tool fits every communication challenge, but they all can play a role in their own way.”

The moral? As you try to decide which of today’s myriad public relations options are best for you, let Lion + Panda provide the common sense. We’ll throw in a selfie for free.

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Written by:
Tom Biedenharn

Tom honed his writing and messaging skills over 30 years in the public relations arena. His experience runs broad and deep across the communications landscape, including strategic communications planning, organizational communications, crisis communication, media relations & coaching, branding, website & social media development, event planning, government relations, and citizen, employee & customer engagement. He creates and executes robust communications plans to help businesses and organizations interact with such diverse audiences as stakeholders, customers, employees and the media.

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