According to Wikipedia (the online encyclopedia that we write ourselves), "New Media loosely describes those forms of media enabled by digital technology." Which, if you take it literally, means all media. Newspapers, television and radio--the traditional media--are all enabled by digital technology today and so this definition doesn't get us any closer to understanding New Media. So much for democracy in reference book publishing.
New Media has nothing to do with technology...except that without it the media consumer would never have been put in a position to control both the medium and the message. Which, I guess means that New Media has everything to do with technology.
But what is it?
For the purposes of B2B Marketing, New Media is any vehicle that allows the company to engage an audience in a discussion designed to ultimately create a relationship that will lead to a sale. It has the following characteristics:
It will probably be enabled by a Web-based technology and take place over the Internet.
More of the content will be provided by outsiders than company employees or advisors.
Some of the content will not conform to the marketing department's approved materials.
Some of the content will strike horror into the hearts of marketing personnel and executives.
It will reveal target audiences' real feelings about the company and its products.
It will spawn real conversations that will lead to relationships and sales.
New Media will become much more prevalent in the B2B space in 2007 than it has been in the past. Expect to see more corporate blogs, more podcasts and more wiki-like sites where companies invite their target markets to share in the creation of company content. Expect to see some companies go through a lot of pain as they realize that they really can't control these conversations once they start, no matter how much they spend or how badly they want to.
At Texell, we're starting with podcasts, but we love blogs and think internet video has an almost unlimited potential to change the way companies market their products. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that New Media tools are easy to define. They haven't all been defined yet. More will be introduced this year.
Example: we now have cell phones that can text you when you pass a certain advertiser's hotspot to offer you a special deal. Imagine what will happen when we build wireless technology into t-shirts and the ad slogan on the back changes as the pretty girl walks down the street. You're going to see a lot of New Media coming. It will start this year. Buckle up.