It seems like every year in radio, there’s another call to action to get involved in new versions of non-traditional revenue or creating content on “the next big thing” platform. Several years ago, it was apps. Then event marketing. Last year was all about podcasting. And 2017 is shaping up to be “The Year of Alexa.”
Now the CMO of Neustar, Steven Wolfe Pereira, tells us that constantly chasing new audiences, devices, gadgets, and platforms can throw you off your game – especially in an industry with low growth. Radio falls into that category.
He calls the syndrome PTSOD – or Post-Traumatic Shiny Object Disorder.
In a recent AdWeek story – “Get Your Eyes Off the Shiny Objects and Focus on Growth” – Pereira quotes a speech ANA CEO Bob Liodice gave last year, “Take Our Industry Back.” Liodice suggested that business growth will only occur if we stop with the buzzwords (think “scale,” “ecosystem,” “best practices”) and put the metrics aside (“big data,” Nielsen analytics).
His concept involves brands creating their own “customer graphs,” rather than drown in a sea of data. And in radio, that might translate to building and nurturing email and text databases, while cementing relationships with the actual audience, rather than becoming fixated on third party data reports (like ratings).
If you’ve been a stakeholder in our commercial radio Techsurveys, or our public radio or Christian radio companion efforts, you have that data foundation to create your “customer graph.” That discreet audience data we deliver should be analyzed and shared with your staff, strategists, and partners. This information is a pathway to better understanding your tribe, rather than staring at a handful of PPM panelists or diarykeepers.
There’s another hidden message in this PTSOD conversation, and that’s to never lose sight of “the mothership.”
Since the days when Lori Lewis joined our company in 2011, through the Seth Resler Era, we at Jacobs Media have always espoused the exploration of new platforms and digital tools – from social media to mobile apps to content marketing via the web.
But throughout this journey, we’ve never lost sight of the product. It’s important to keep up with the audience – designing a mobile app, having a great website, using a texting platform, focusing on the “connected car,” and developing “skills” for Alexa.
But if the product – “the mothership” – isn’t the center of emphasis and attention, all the digital strategy in the world won’t help a brand achieve growth and sustainability. Apps for stations that aren’t well developed or lots of Facebook posts from DJs that aren’t connecting on the air is truly what PTSOD is about.
Every year at CES, we see thousands of “bright shiny objects,” and it is fascinating for us to connect the dots to determine how these innovations can fit into the daily operations of a radio station.
But creating initiatives around voice command devices, social media, mobile phones, and digital dashboards will all fall short if the station’s content and brand essence aren’t earning a team’s full attention, investment, and brain power.
So are we guilty of a little PTSOD?
At times, yes. And here at Jacobs Media and jācapps, it’s something we are always mindful of. We want our clients to be ahead of the curve – or at least keep up with it. But we also fully realize that without a commitment to creating great content and building well-rounded brands, none of those shiny objects amount to much.
Yes, it’s a question of balance – keeping the “mothership” in focus, while also looking to a future that is moving very fast.
These are challenging times for traditional media brands trying to stay profitable while programming and marketing options are in abundance. We will continue our regimen, starting with the research foundation of Techsurvey that can help you build your “customer graph.” And we will not lose sight of the essential product building blocks that keep large audiences coming back to the “the mothership” every week.
But those shiny objects are awfully interesting.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,000 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.