“Marketing media.” Did you ever stop and think about what that means? “Media” = “In the middle.”

Every good little ad agency always makes sure that a media plan accompanies each recommendation they present to a client. It is assumed that all marketing communications must have some media in the middle, bridging the way between buyer and seller.


There’s no good reason. In fact, the most effective marketing doesn’t have mediation. It is when the buyer and seller are in direct contact, sans media.

Certainly, there are times when media are necessary. If you have a lot of customers, you may not be able to talk with them all directly. If you want to reach people you don’t know, you may need to delegate customer communication to some magazine or billboard. But, here’s my question: What do you build first into your plan – rich, personal, unmediated encounters, or mass, impersonal, mediated transactions?

Instead of building your media plan first, try this: Build your un-media plan. Start conceiving of your marketing by focusing on interacting directly with your customers. And then, use relatively-inefficient, less-productive marketing media for what’s left over.


  • Michael Martine, Blog Consultant
    Mar 28, 2008 - 12:44 pm

    Steve, this a fantastic little post! It reminds me of how everything is marketing in a sense. Customer service is marketing. Product and process design is marketing (well, maybe pre-marketing, if you know what I mean). Love the “un-media” plan!

  • Steve Yastrow
    Mar 28, 2008 - 15:22 pm

    Michael – Thanks. For you as uber-blogger and blog consultant, it’s interesting to think about how you can get the media of the computer/internet/user interface/font/style sheet/laptop screen to be as frictionless and transparent as possible. I quote a friend in We who had a radio show. He described how he liked to “make the microphone disappear.” With a client in health care, we are now training people who take appointment calls to “make the telephone disappear.”

    • Michael Martine, Blog Consultant
      Mar 28, 2008 - 15:28 pm

      I know what you mean. That’s a great way to say it. I’ve had the experience in blog comments where the blog “disappears” because of the high level of participation and activity in the comments. This is where tech stuff and customer relationships come together, because a technical glitch suddenly jolts your awareness out of the conversation. It’s like hitting a speed bump at 90 miles an hour. Plugins like the one I installed here on your blog that allow for threaded easy replies and email subscriptions to comments are designed to help make the blog disappear.

  • Brian
    Mar 28, 2008 - 17:16 pm

    Reminds me of when Six Flags gave away 45,000 tickets on Craigslist–just go right to the customer.

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