Your homework assignment is to play the ever-so-brief but ever-so-painful TikTok video above. It's less than a minute long, but it seems much longer.
It's from a young girl who creates a series of driving TikToks, a common format for the platform. But this one's gone “viral,” as they say.
Seth Resler shows you how to use webinars to generate leads for your radio station's sales team.
There are many ways to say that broadcast radio has failed to connect with teens, but this simple TikTok video communicates it better than words, charts, or graphs can.
If you work in radio, it's brutal.
When I saw it, it was a reminder to me of the fatal mistake radio continues to make by not even making an effort to reach this generation of truly amazing young people – and voracious consumers.
They may not be as “unreachable” as many radio people imagine. The narrative is they've grown up without radio so why on earth would they start listening now? After all, they're “digital natives.” But Edison data from 2019 suggest otherwise.
In their “Radio's Roadmap to Gen Z,” they point out several fun facts about teens and radio:
- A majority (55%) of 13-24 year-olds in the U.S. are reached daily by AM/FM radio.
- But they spend 50% less of their total share of time listening to AM/FM radio than the 13+ population.
- Gen Z listens most to AM/FM when they're in their cars – almost half the time – ahead of streaming audio and YouTube.
These facts may seem incongruous with what we've come to believe, but that “conventional wisdom” is flat-out wrong.
Radio is easiest to listen to in the car – at least for now. The data show that teens at least are willing to try a radio station when they first jump into the car.
Other so-called facts about Gen Z and their favorite brands fly in the face of logic. For example, Walmart is more popular among teens than Apple.
That's according to a new Morning Consult study, “Gen Z's Favorite Brands 2022.” Look at their top 20 – lots of mainstream brands here:
How could this possibly happen?
Did you know Walmart is making serious efforts to court teens? A new story in Marketing Dive by Peter Adams reveals Walmart's efforts to create interactive virtual spaces before the holidays. They'll focus on several areas, including a beauty and cosmetics section.
Wouldn't you know it? The world largest retailer is working hard to connect with Gen Z via the launch of two Roblox experiences. That begs the question, what do they know we don't know?
Here's Walmart's brand experiences and strategic partnerships director Justin Breton:
“We’re really manifesting the brand in a way that we think is going to excite the next generation of consumers and get them to think of Walmart differently.”
Changing perceptions isn't easily done, especially for an old school brand that has largely ignored an entire generation.
But, if they can do it….
The good news is that unlike the pioneer days of radio where swashbucklers like Bill Drake, Rick Sklar, and Lee Abrams had to gut their way to success, there's no shortage of truly great research available to programmers and marketers now.
In today's Inside Radio, a very cool study and flip book from Horizon Media is featured. A finding that echoes Edison's research is that while they only lightly consume traditional media like newspapers, TV, and magazines, they are heavy users of radio.
In fact, Gen Z's over-index on radio. This data is based on Simmons indices, so a certain level of caution is encouraged. But still….the data indicates more teens listen to radio than most observers think:
Horizon has put together a nifty “Gen Z Field Guide” you can download here, conveniently broken down into five big categories, including “Entertainment.”
It's a slick piece of work, loaded with (mostly) fun facts about teens.
But perhaps here's the most important data point I pulled out of the study:
Gen Z makes up an estimated $360 billion in purchasing power.
At a time when the radio broadcasting industry is struggling with it traditional business and its newest ventures, who's going to be the first to take a shot here.
The Horizon Media study reports than nine in ten 18-25 year-olds say there's no such thing as “mainstream pop culture.” That sounds like an open door opportunity to me.
If you need encouragement, just play the TikTok video again.
When it comes to radio and Gen Z, tick tock.
A special shoutout to NPR's Sal LoCurto, always looking around the next corner.