Figures don’t lie, but liars sure can figure.
Throughout the history of media, each new medium has sold unsuspecting local advertisers as they went through their “liars sure can figure” phase. Social media is in that phase right now.
Virtually every new medium, including newspaper, radio, and TV, has evolved through the “Four Phases of Media Evolution”:
Phase 1: the pioneer stage with the lure of shiny new technology
Phase 2: the liars-sure-can-figure or “smoke and mirrors” phase
Phase 3: fragmentation, competition, and clutter
Phase 4: competing based upon results.
Each medium’s evolution begins with “techie types” selling the magic of the shiny new technology during a pioneer stage, when no one yet understands how to monetise and maximise the results from that technology.
When newspapers first started, for example, they had no circulation or readership data, they simply sold the magic of seeing your name and business in print, and having it in mass distribution. The technology was certainly shiny compared to the old town crier spreading messages.
In the liars-sure-can-figure phase, they produced “circulation” figures, claiming a circulation of X thousand, even though they knew only a small percentage of that circulation actually turned to the page a particular advertiser’s ad was on, and an even smaller percentage actually read it.
Many newspapers were actually caught transferring funds to their circulation department to inflate those figures.
Next came radio. Advertisers were wooed by the mystery of their name coming through the air and magically reverberating through a round speaker in their prospects’ homes. Once the novelty of the technology faded, many radio stations entered their smoke-and-mirror phase by touting their signal contour maps.
They’d make misleading claims like “Our signal covers a population of more than a million people,” even though they knew in all probability only a fraction of that million people actually listened to that particular station.
Of course, when technology evolved to allow advertisers to be both seen and heard in consumers’ living rooms, they flocked to the shiny new thing that was television.
In phases one and two of each medium’s evolution, some early adopters did experience success simply because of the novelty, and lack of clutter and fragmentation.
But eventually every media evolves from selling the shiny technology, to the smoke-and-mirrors numbers phase, to fragmentation, and ultimately to understanding how to harness their power, and their limitations, from a marketing perspective.
When all is said and done, technology and misleading numbers can’t hide the truth about sales, and fragmented and cluttered media have to learn how to generate sales for their advertisers.
Today, some national advertisers might be happy with clicks and likes from around the globe. But local advertisers soon lose their enthusiasm for technology and for global clicks, likes, followers, and page views when they don’t translate to local sales.
With all due respect, new-media reps who have sold the technology or inflated numbers of their media, seldom have a grasp on how to increase sales for their clients.
The digital world has largely passed through the “sell the technology” stage of media evolution. Like you saw in the YouTube video, many are currently in the smoke-and-mirrors numbers stage.
So are you ready to proclaim the radio renaissance? The best local radio marketing executives know how to create successful local campaigns in their markets.
We have long since surpassed representing our contour maps as our reach. We’ve learned how to create results no matter what our numbers or format are, by proving the value of targeting, creative, frequency, and a long list of proven techniques to create results for local businesses.
You need to show all of your clients this Facebook smoke and mirrors video, and open a discussion about radio in the new media landscape.
Followers, likes, page views, and clicks are not translating to sales, and your local advertisers will welcome your Stage 4 approach when you say, “What you say in your ads is more important than the platform you say it on.”
If you want your prospects to see Wayne’s presentation on radio’s fit in the new media landscape, contact Alysia@wensmedia.com.
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You're so right, Wayne. It's time for local radio to focus where they can truly help business owners achieve advertising results...on the air. - Gregg Murray, Relaunch Radio
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