Traditional and digital media are not in competition: they actually complement one another. The real challenges are the massive changes in the media industry and how they affect the media’s roles in marketing communications strategies. In fact, in order to effectively leverage the power and potential of today’s media, an organization must adapt its messaging and content to face a new market reality.

Fragmented audiences 

For the past several years, especially with the arrival of specialty channels, audiences—and their expectations—have become increasingly fragmented. Now, more than ever before, people identify themselves with what they buy and the values of the brands they purchase. As a result, organizations must now communicate with multiple communities and address their multiple needs. 

Businesses can no longer offer one, unique and standardized product; this approach doesn’t cater to the new generation that shops for products within an environment that offers many highly diverse solutions. For example, if you are looking for the latest news, you can opt for live streaming videos, podcasts, on-demand TV, content recommended by your network, etc. Indeed, there are many new ways to reach clients—when and how they want to receive your information. 

Another case in point: the province of Québec has different regions that have their own media outlets, economic realities and socio-political ecosystems. Each one is diverse, enriching and aligned with the mindset of local populations. A marketing campaign can only be successful if it targets the right niche audience, crafts the right message, and segments the company’s product portfolio accordingly. It must also include a comprehensive, multiplatform content marketing strategy.

Attention spans are dwindling

The average attention span of readers is rapidly diminishing. According to a study conducted by Microsoft Canada, attention spans have dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. Inundated with a wide variety of messages, readers allot minimal time (if any) to irrelevant information. This, in turn, causes major impacts on how companies communicate with existing and potential clients. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t take into account just how important personas and targeted messaging can be; oftentimes, they simply send out generic messages that are never really viewed or read.

Digital is gaining traction…with one caveat 

From an advertising standpoint, digital media has a lot of advantages. You can choose from a wide variety of ad options, technology platforms and target audiences that will help you to engage with clients and measure your campaigns’ ROIs.

However, it is interesting to note that, according to the Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms, Canadians base their final buying decisions on what they see or read in traditional media. They prefer print media (86%), TV (83%), radio (78%) and magazines (73%) as trusted sources of information. In other words, people no longer choose the type of media they want; rather, they choose what media they want based on their specific needs at any given moment. This means that for a campaign to be successful, companies must constantly adapt their messages so that they remain relevant for clients and on brand.


Granata, Arnaud. Entrevue avec Patrick Beauduin : Les marques un repères de valeurs sociales?. 2. 22 février 2017.

Frank, Cyrille. Mutation des usages : 5 défis majeurs pour les médias et les producteurs de contenus. Média culture. 3 décembre 2016.

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