(by Wayne Ens) A good friend of mine, Rick, is the marketing manager for a large shopping mall. During one of our discussions he said, “There was a time when we spent hours and hours preparing our annual marketing plans. Today, things are changing so fast, it’s impossible to keep up. Thank God we now have an agency with experts in new media to do our planning for us.”
I responded, “With all due respect, I don’t believe there are any experts in new media. The world is changing so fast, that what an ‘expert’ learned last week, is almost obsolete by the time you try to incorporate that knowledge into your plans for tomorrow.”
Rick agreed. “You are probably right,” he said, “but having these alleged experts try to sort it out still makes my life easier.”
Here are some basic truths every broadcast account executive must come to grips with to succeed in this market:
1.) Local decision-makers saddled with everything from renewing their leases to buying their fall merchandise, from hiring staff to scheduling their advertising, are all looking for someone, as Rick said “to make their life easier.”
Those claiming to be new media experts in this rapidly changing space often try to capitalise on the confusion created by change and focus on platforms rather than on the content and effective marketing communications. They confuse results with response and measure things like click-throughs, page views, likes, and followers, rather than focusing on what the advertiser really wants, increased market share and sales.
Understanding your clients’ marketing advantages and objectives, you can prepare turnkey presentations from strategy to creative, and from scheduling to production, to make their lives easier.
2.) The lure of something new is real, but “new” is not a replacement for traditional or proven, it’s simply an addition to what works. The cargo plane has not replaced the railway train; it simply became another tool in the shipper’s tool box. (In 2014, airlines in the U.S. had an average profit margin of less than 1% versus railways with an average net profit of 15% to 20%.)
There are applications where shipping by air makes sense, but the heavy lifting is still the domain of the railways.
There are applications where various Internet applications make sense, but tried and proven broadcast advertising must still be the foundation or backbone of any strategic marketing plan.
3.) The traditional communication skills you have learned are as applicable to new media as they are to traditional media. There is no such thing as a media that does not work; there are only messages that don’t work.
Strategy and copy are still king….in every medium. What you say is more important than where you say it. While purveyors of new media take advantage of business decision-makers who are intimidated by emerging new technology, you can level the playing field with your expertise in marketing and advertising.
4.) Radio is now more powerful in the marketing mix than ever before. Pre-Internet, advertisers were forced to buy expensive print (catalogues, brochures, newspaper, magazines, direct mail etc.) to outline laundry-lists of details, fine print, and pictures. Today they can have all of those details and pictures on their inexpensive website, and use broadcast advertising to create interest and drive traffic to those sites.
Prior to the Internet, small local businesses had difficulty competing with the big national guys who negotiated bulk discounts on printing, production, and huge multi-market discounts on delivery of their print media. (Remember when businesses had to pay extra for color in their print advertising? How much extra is color on their website?) Today, using radio to drive traffic to the small business’ local website has huge advantages.
With new technologies, some old technologies do become obsolete. While the plane did not replace the train, the train certainly replaced the horse and wagon. The Internet has not replaced broadcast, but certainly is much more efficient than print.
2016 will be a great year for radio account executives who understand their local advertisers’ goals, and who make their lives easier by clearly and concisely establishing radio’s role in the new media mix.