>Radio’s Repositioning Lesson

> This year, radio advertising revenue fell behind Internet advertising, and the radio broadcasting industry has decided it has to do something. Their answer: marketing.

On Thursday, the National Association of Broadcasters announced Radio 2020, an “unprecedented, comprehensive marketing campaign to reposition radio for a vibrant and successful future.” (note: see Wednesday’s lesson on B.S.)

Some Selected Quotes and Analysis:

“Radio’s value lies in the fact that it’s accessible — it’s everywhere and portable,” said NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr.

Wrong. Simply because it’s available does not make radio valuable. This is not a value proposition: “Hey, we’re available.”

“Advertisers are taking notice and we can build on that momentum by
delivering a unified message about Radio’s importance in Americans’
lives.” – Jeff Haley, president and chief executive officer, Radio Advertising Bureau

Wow. Maybe Mr Haley has not keeping up with current events. He missed the fact that radio ad revenue is flat and internet ad revenue surpassed radio for the first time this year. Advertisers taking notice? Momentum?

“Through this initiative we can work together to demonstrate radio’s incredible
value and relevance to the American consumer.” – Peter Ferrara, president and CEO of the HD Digital Radio Alliance

Translation: People just don’t understand. If they would just realize how important we are, they would flock to us.

Some of the key initiatives outlined for the campaign were accessibility and format variety. They call this a repositioning? This is the same position they’ve had for over 30 years!

The Lesson:
Cynicism aside, the radio advertising industry does provide us with a valuable marketing lesson. It’s the old axiom that good marketing can’t save a bad business. B.S. cannot solve a flawed business model. Radio has decided that what they needed was an external makeover, while ignoring the internal flaws.

When you begin the marketing process for your business, always begin internally. Start from the ground up, working on basic things like your values, your mission and your brand promise. You’ll find that you won’t just be designing your marketing materials, you’ll be designing a valuable business.

Some final advice to the radio industry. It’s not about your portability, your play lists, your technology or your DJ’s. Try some interactivity.


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