The short answer is: very.

New media was not immediately embraced by a large percentage of the business community. The reasons are simple. Approximately, ten to twenty percent of Americans are what we call "early adapters" and open to new ideas, products and opportunities. They are naturally curious and very self-motivated. Since this group is very likely to be among the first to try anything new, often for the fun of it, new media is an exciting challenge.

The remaining eighty to ninety percent fall into the play-it-safe category. They resist new things and generally wait until the idea, product, etc., has become accepted and tried by others. They also resist the discomfort of the learning curve because it's easier to stay with what they know.

True to form, the "early adapters" and the play-it-safe group reacted to new media in a very predicable ways. The "early adapters" embraced new media and the play-it-safe group decided they just didn't get it, so why bother.

Like it or not, new media has emerged as a major player in advertising and marketing, the Internet and wireless technologies. New, different and consumer driven, new media is not going away any time soon. The media revolution is here and it does not play by the same rules as traditional media.

As a kid, I was the last one to leave the library. When we took vacations by car, I always had my nose in a book in spite of parental concerns that I would ruin my eyes.

One day, I hoped that I would achieve enough success to be able to afford a huge library. Today that's a reality, and it's called the Internet. I'm still one of the last ones to leave the "library" on the East coast -- sometimes at 2:00 AM. The beauty of this new "library" is that it's 24/7 with very loyal customers.

Today, before making a purchase, taking new medicine, or making financial decisions, a large percentage of people conduct online research. Consumers are spending a larger percentage of the online time with content and on popular social-networking sites. In 2001, many manufacturers and publishers were wondering whether to include new media in the mix.

Today, there is no question regarding the importance of the new "pull" media fueled by new technology and consumers. Internet users are spending nearly half their online time visiting content -- a 37% increase in share of time from four years ago and nearly as much time as spent on communications and commerce combined -- according to a four-year analysis of the Internet Activity Index (IAI) issued by the Online Publishers Association (OPA).

The IAI is a monthly gauge of the time that users spend with e-commerce, communications, content and search; it is conducted by Nielsen/NetRatings.

Leave your comfort zone behind and take a serious look at this new and exciting opportunity if you haven't already done so. Does that mean that you should shift the greater percentage of your media budget to new media? Definitely not.

Like a strong financial portfolio, your marketing plan should be diversified.

Author's Bio: 

Diane T. Creston, president/creative director of Creston Advertising & Marketing, Inc., is a noted marketing and branding expert who has developed campaigns for a variety of manufacturers and service providers including Sony, Behrman Capital, AccelTree Software, LGB of America, Carrera, Cabbage Patch Kids and Life Mentor Coach/author, Lance Heft, among others. She is also a published author and on-air personality who covers a wide array of topics that range from business, health, beauty to childhood development.