Have you ever seen Fiddler on the Roof, with Chaim Topol playing the paterfamilias who doesn’t understand how much the times are changing? It’s a stunning play. I had the great privilege of seeing it live once, and Topol himself was there.
Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about “traditional” marketing or “traditional” agencies, and almost always, these words have been used kind of like swear words. Like, “Ew, a traditional agency. Gross.”
It seems like many in the Social Media world are as stubborn as Tevye, the father in Fiddler on the Roof, only instead of stubbornly clinging to tradition, they are plugging their ears and insisting that tradition is no longer needed.
“A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask, why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous? We stay because Anatevka is our home… And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you
in one word… Tradition.”
We’re all fiddlers on the roof
Everyone you see in the online world is a fiddler on the roof, trying to eke out a living without breaking his or her neck. Everything we do out in the open is taking a risk, and so it is in the offline world, too. What can keep our companies or brands afloat in this crazy world?
Just like in the song Tradition, the answer is balance.
You don’t have to discard Social Media just because you believe advertising still works.
You don’t have to discard email just because you believe Twitter works.
You don’t have to discard printed brochures just because you believe that Facebook works.
I have a great fear for those of you who insist that traditional marketing has no place in the new world. I fear that you are dancing on a very slanted, slippery roof, and I fear that you are going to break your neck. Why? Because you don’t have balance. You aren’t considering where you are or where your customers are. You are riding the wave, following the crowd, and hoping that some of the food remnants will make it to you.
You need balance. You need tradition. You need those centuries of experience, research, studies, analysis, and examinations. You need to understand how to transition from your more traditional channels to your brand new ones while still making sure your customers can find you.
You need tradition in order to fiddle your way to the future.
Don’t you think?
Image by Maarten Kruit. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/mergemind