I realize that for many of you, the name of today’s post – Advertising Innovations – sounds a bit oxymoronic.
Aside from a few exceptions here and there (including some interesting integration ideas from the Katz Media Solutions group), radio sales is still very much about selling :30s and :60s, along with live reads and “value added” in the form of mundane remotes, van appearances, and interns sitting around a table at events.
On the other side of the spectrum is the innovation that is occurring on a regular basis in the digital world. Truth be told, not every "new media" advertising concept ends up working. But there is no shortage of cool ideas, some of which blaze a trail that contributes to making online advertising a hot commodity. As Internet advertising revenue passed newspaper ads in 2010, a big part of the reason has to do with some of the exciting ways that brands can have presence online.
Mashable recently listed their top 10 online Internet concepts, and their ideas are somewhat hit and miss, but fascinating all the same. On the one hand, there are the “Old Spice” response videos – 180 videos that directly responded to consumer messages using the wildly popular Old Spice guy.
OK, that's a tough one to execute. But in the realm of activities that any brand could pull off, there’s bar code scanning on mobile phones. As smartphones proliferate (and you know there were a lot of iPhones, iPads, Droids, and the like under many trees last month), there is great opportunity to provide real-time discounts via mobile devices. But add the immediacy and power of radio to promote and market this feature, and you have a powerful marriage of new and old media.
Of course, some Mashable innovations were somewhat left-handed. A good example is Chatroulette, a web application that was about randomly connecting consumers via live video chat. The innovation occurred when Travelocity inserted its gnome mascot into the mix on April Fool’s Day. Again, this is smart marketing by a brand that was on the lookout for ways to virally make some noise.
One of the big winners last year, of course, was Groupon, providing a great example of how the worldwide web can benefit mom and pop businesses. And that brings us back to radio.
What are the ways in which stations and broadcasting companies can take advantage of the new opportunities that come from the online space, mobile, and social media? How many companies are looking at the new environment, and imagining ways to foster integration and engagement with local brands and personalities? Is this activity even occurring on the station level, and are most broadcasters knowledgeable enough to develop new marketing ideas that can benefit advertisers, while bringing new revenue to the table?
For decades, radio has often looked the other way at small main street companies “that could never afford to advertise on our station.” Today, these businesses can provide the fabric of a sales strategy that could be successful in 2011.
Sadly, that’s an oxymoron in today’s radio environment, and it is a key reason why the medium is stuck with a shrinking piece of the advertising pie.
PS. Our CES videos are posted at jacobsmedia.com - click and enjoy our tour of the convention floor.