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TV’s Digital Lessons for Radio

Edison Research recently showcased some buyer interviews arguing, among other things, that radio’s digital-only doo-dads are less than compelling to many buyers and that what they really want is an integrated approach across platforms built around fresh ideas.

So what’s best, digital-only or integrated? Don’t get lost in this “either/or” – it’s a myth. It’s all about value, folks. Good or bad, high or low. Period.

I think radio buyers can only respond to what’s in front of them, and many of radio’s digital-only doo-dads are not exceptional enough to capture their attention or interest (or the attention and interest of our own audiences). So make better stuff with better ideas and you can sell it better to people who don’t know what they want until they see it.

In other words, don’t stick a fork in digital-only tactics. But do think more broadly about integrated approaches.

Consider what’s happening in television. Here’s some advice to agencies from an update to the book Social TV:

Nevermore is there television and then digital. Now, the two media channels have become so intertwined that they are increasingly acting as one. Planning media simultaneously is no longer a nice-to-have; it is a must-have. Change your approach and mindset to both plan and execute television as a cross-channel experience from the assignment’s very onset. Television buyers, digital planners/strategists, and creative directors must forge a new level of hyper-collaboration and alignment in order to achieve great work. You must…embrace…cross-discipline partnership and teamwork.

Ah but TV is different, you might say.

Not for much longer.

I have long noted that radio’s future comes from three and only three areas:

1. Between the songs 2. Instead of the songs 3. In addition to the songs

And that future can only come about when we leverage the relationships we have between our brands, our consumers, and our clients in the markets we serve – and do it across platforms.

Invariably this “call for content” will push radio in spoken word directions, on-air or off. And every spoken word direction has natural tentacles across platforms. After all, it’s TV’s investment in largely spoken word content that empowers its performance across platforms.

This “call for content” will also push us towards events, such as Clear Channel’s IHeartRadio festival, which lives across every platform imaginable (as well it should).

As you map out the future of your brand (let alone your industry) don’t simply get lost in the weeds of knee-jerk reactions to the opinions of today’s buyers (although you should certainly be listening to them, too).

Recognize that there are others in their agencies buying things with a budget that is not allocated to “traditional media” – and that budget is growing.

Recognize that agencies themselves are changing and they will ultimately reorganize around the needs of their clients to reach and engage with consumers and not settle for the media classifications or the limiting metrics of an era gone by.

Recognize that new competitors for the attention of your consumers sprout up every day, and some of them have a reach which dwarfs your own (hello, Apple).

Recognize that a solution is in your hands.

And it’s to build out the “between,” the “instead of,” and the “in addition to.”

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