With commercial companies, whether on a local or national level, they could plug into paid advertising that brought their advertising message into almost every home.
For nonprofits, the primary advertising vehicle for message delivery was direct mail. They paid to have tens of thousands of letters delivered to a mass list of people who showed a propensity for supporting organizations like theirs.
We all get this because we lived through that time.
Today, however, we have this new invention called the Internet and we are all connected.
And when I say connected … I mean we are all connected … individually.
Mass has become the connected individual.
How many individuals are connected on the Internet? About 2 billion people connected worldwide, with more connecting daily. So, theoretically, that is pretty much everybody you might want to connect to.
So what is the other difference between “mass advertising” and the “individual-connected” Internet?
Oh yeah, the cost.
Media used to be scarce, so whoever “owned” the mass media you wanted to use charged dearly for it. But today, the Internet has broken all the mass media monopolies, and the Internet’s ability to connect everybody is essentially free.
The opposite of “scarce” is “abundant,” and the Internet has created abundant opportunities to connect.
But the Internet operates under different rules.
The old world of media was about vertical, top-down communications. Your money, your plan, and you were in control of the message … as far as reaching a “set audience” at a “set time” for a “set price.”
But the new online world of Internet-connected individual communications applications and media is about horizontal communications. You create a remarkable product, or, in the case of nonprofits, a remarkable mission, then you tell your story and set it up to spread person-to-person. On the Internet, unpaid but passionate advocates carry your story (your message) to others. But you have no direct control.
We all kind of like the control we have with paid media, don’t we?
But we also like not having to pay for messages through the Internet, don’t we?
Don’t misunderstand; we still need to use the old media for awhile because it is still working with an older segment of people we want to reach, but every year that group gets smaller and smaller.
But in the main, we really don’t have a choice, do we?
Of course we have a choice, but it is a different choice than maybe you’re thinking about.
Our choice is to shift our focus online.
Because, other than the oldest mass segments of people we want to reach, the vast majority … most individuals … have already gone online.
Drip, Drip, Drip.
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