Traditional Media And The Influence Of Technological Advancements

As society modernizes, methods by which we connect with the world evolve as well. Since the early 1990s, marketing efforts employed by cultural and arts institutions have been on the rise. Museums at that time, too, started using digital information technology for advertisement and promotion. Liew and Loh mentioned in “E-marketing, communications and the international tourist” that “information technology has since expanded the conventional definition of marketing”. In this context, institutions such as galleries and museums can utilize modern marketing tools and sophisticated marketing techniques to remain attractive and relevant in a competitive environment.

Museums have a long history, dating back to the 18th century. Over the years, numerous museums have been built while existing ones are continually being upgraded. Formerly, the role of a museum was to preserve, research and interpret cultural and natural heritage material for the elite. The role has evolved to one which now plays educational, cultural and social roles for everyone across all levels of society.

Audience and visitor development are pivotal to sustaining the arts. This essay argues that in a technology-driven 21st century, e-marketing is more effective and relevant than traditional marketing methods in attracting audiences to museums and institutions.

Before the era of e-marketing, museums and institutions used traditional marketing methods to reach out to audiences. Traditional marketing methods consist of printed media, newspapers, word-of-mouth, television and radio broadcast. In the nineteenth century, newspaper and journal coverage was mainly used to publicize events. Museums then actively generated promotional information for publication and circulation. However, this mode of outreach was restricted by geography, time and accessibility.

Advertising is said to be the one of the most used channels of traditional marketing. However, advertising is a one-way communication hence, rendering it ineffective, as it does not provide audience an avenue to respond. The other contributing factor to the lack of attention paid to advertisements is the perception of being intrusive. Television advertisements, for example, interrupt one’s program and takes the focus and attention away. It is shown that viewers have the tendency to leave their room or change the channel when advertisements appear, in an effort to avoid them. From observation, people tend to discard printed media, such as flyers, without reading the content. This causes the message to be lost in transit, thereby deeming this form of marketing ineffective. Viewers do not wish to put a halt to their activities to pay attention to an advertisement. In addition, these advertisements can only be accessed by those who are physically present as they will be made aware of the message advertised by a brand or an organization. This awareness may in turn result in potential audience growth. However, the accessibility of traditional marketing is limited its geography.

One common form of advertising is newspaper advertising. In 2013, readership for Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) was 2,801,000. However, in 2016, that number decreased to 2,248,000. This alone indicates a reduction in audience numbers. In August 2017, the circulation for the digital version of “The Straits Times” was 120,400, an increase from 116,200 as compared to August 2016. The circulation of the print version was 277,100 in 2016 but decreased to 263,200 in 2017. This shows that the way in which news is received has evolved. With technology advancement, people tend to prefer receiving their news digitally, instead of from print media. As such, if a museum were to use advertising, in particular newspaper advertising, as the channel to market their exhibitions, the visitors would likely be of only a particular segment and not the general public. Given the advancements in technology, preferences in how people receive their news and interact has changed. Millenials for instance, favor receiving their news quickly and through word-of-mouth from their close ones. They prefer to have some form of interaction and engagement, which is a limitation of traditional marketing (Newman). Traditional marketing would have to now compete with technology in terms of receiving attention for their products.

11 February 2020
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