As a marketer who started brand-building with traditional media and now does it with online media such as search and social, I get asked questions that straddle both worlds. One of the most common, whether its for a website or traditional offline media, is:

Whats our tagline?

But are taglines really important anymore or have they been replaced by propositions?

Once upon a time in a world dominated by interruption media " such as television, radio and billboard etc. " ads followed a set formula:

Act I: Tease the viewer into paying attention by saying something mysterious and compelling Bo dont know baseball

Act II: Reveal your product story Bo wears Nikes to cross-train

Act III: Close with a tagline that summarize your big idea Just Do It

Nike-Just-Do-It-Tagline

And you had 30 seconds.

But time has moved on. Interruptive media still works but, in a world fragmented with choice and where the consumer has more control over what they watch, it is less powerful in creating effective marketing particularly for those who cant afford the rising rates. Consider that one of the most watched tv shows of the last 10 years " the Friends finale " would have only ranked 40th in an average year 20 years earlier.

Today relevance rules. If you want to get your email opened

your site found

your ad clicked on

your Facebook post liked,

you need to work hard to be super-clear with how your product helps the viewer " not vague.

Adidas-Pay-Per-Click-Ad

I dont mean to suggest that being compelling isnt important. In fact, insight into the hearts and minds of consumers is still the magic bullet for effective marketing and long-term brand-building. And modern tools like keyword research and social media monitoring can help you mine those nuggets of wisdom. Its just that today when the consumer increasingly lives in a media world over which they are king, you cant dance the dance of the seven veils.

Or, as a friend says, if youve got free beer, say free beer.