by Kenneth Rudich
One attractive feature of modern digital media is the flexibility to use it over and over again.
It can be sliced and diced and then re-arranged in any way you might imagine. And unlike its less forgiving analog predecessor (from as recently as a decade ago), properly managed digital media will retain its original quality no matter how much it gets converted or changed. As a result, it’s especially well-suited for re-use and re-purposing.
This attribute alone makes it a darling for marketing communications.
Given the assortment of communications outlets and platforms commonly used in contemporary marketing, there’s a tremendous need for the flexibility that digital offers.
If one were to conduct a comparative cost study between analog and digital while dealing with today’s long list of things to do, the difference between the two would be staggering. In fact, there’s a good chance it be impossible to keep up if analog was the only available option. In that environment, you’d be forced, all too frequently, to re-invent the wheel. With digital, you can tap the same resource for developing a variety of spin-off solutions.
The savings in terms of time, energy, money and, perhaps most significant of all…headaches…is enormous.
It’s like the night and day difference between using an old-fashioned typewriter to create a document or using contemporary word processing software. This same analogy holds true for graphics, video, audio…really, almost any form of digital media you can name.
successfully employing re-use
The key to successfully employing re-use (and re-purposing) in marketing communications lies with planning ahead for it. One should develop digital media, and then library it, in a manner that is consistent with serving this purpose.
Think back to our typewriter versus word processing software comparison. In typewriter days, re-arranging a sentence or paragraph within a document meant the whole page (or even several pages) would have to be re-typed – assuming you wanted to preserve its original quality. With software, you just cut and paste the part you want to change. Thus, old document files can be updated over time with far less effort involved.
Our “About M-S-M” video is another case and point. The version shown on this page is the third time we’ve revised it in the last eight months. The changes were significant enough to warrant the make-over, but only because it was in a digital format. The digital format allowed the video equivalent of cut and paste for a document.
If it had been analog, we would have had to rebuild it from scratch. Under that circumstance, it would have been difficult to justify the time, energy and resources that would have been diverted away from the many other things that also need to be done. And it would have taken at least a few days to do. Instead, it took about the same amount of time it takes to consume a cup of coffee.
In fact, we do a lot of re-use and re-purposing of digital files here at Marketing Strategy Management — partly because we revel in the economics of it, partly because we can, and partly because we’ve done a good job of incorporating it into our operating plan. We also like the benefit of having fewer headaches.
In the next installment, we’ll delve deeper into the how-to for effectively building re-use into your marketing communications plan.
Until then, take a look at our new “About M-S-M” video and let us know what you think.
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