The RAB recently told us something that just about everyone already knows – the up arrows for revenue generation for radio are in digital dollars. Now to make sure you didn’t miss it, I have literally framed it up for you:
Now I know there have been other big stories this week that may have captured your attention – the hottest recurrents of the summer, that clever “all polka” stunt in Colorado City, and ratings results in markets where half the stations’ numbers are redacted. So put those distractions aside because this release from the RAB is a news item that should be a central discussion topic at every station in America from New York City to Nantucket to Nome.
According to the RAB report, while spot sales were flat in Q1, sales revenues attached to digital assets jumped 10%. (Network dollars posted an increase of 8%). And yet we know, thanks in part to guys like Gordon Borrell, that the radio industry is leaving millions of digital dollars on the table.
In the midst of Jacobs Media delivering its Techsurvey8 findings – now in format installments over the next few weeks – doesn’t it just make sense for the industry to finally devote more time, attention, and resources to bolstering its digital strategies?
Many radio companies are still flailing around in the digital space, chasing the “flavor of the month,” losing salespeople to Pandora and Google, or somehow still in denial about what’s taking place in the media world.
Radio’s not alone. According to a new survey from the CMO Council, less than 10% of companies say they have a “highly evolved” digital marketing strategy. Overall, 200 marketing mavens from around the world took part in this new piece of research. And more than a third say their digital strategy is essentially tactics minus strategy. And yet, all that ad money is out there – and it will only multiply from this day forward.
Stations and brands need a digital strategy in order to effectively compete in this space. That was Seth Godin’s position in Meatball Sundae, and it has never been more true. A digital hierarchy is paramount in order to truly understand the space and profit from it.
Interestingly, stations are still spending money to find out “Who’s the concert authority?” or whether “Baby, I Love Your Way” is a little burned. When it comes to investing in where the audience is moving in digital and how brands can better serve them online, socially, and on mobile devices, the dollars dry up.
Techsurvey8 and studies like it are starting points, providing a digital hierarchy from which strategies can be built. But to truly benefit from the surge in digital ad dollars, it will require more comprehenvise research, consulting, strategies, and tactics – the same tried and true formula that built radio brands, garnered ratings, and produced revenue decades ago. That same series of disciplines is required in the digital space. In fact, it’s even more paramount, given the level and scope of the competition.
How much money in R&D, personnel, and other resources has your company spent toward these endeavors to date? And how much has been devoted to learning more in 2012 and beyond? That’s a question that every Board of Directors should be asking as we head into the summer.
Digital strategies are the cornerstone of what we’ve put together here at Jacobs Media, starting with our Techsurveys, our mobile initiatives, and the presence of a true social media visionary, Lori Lewis. Even the “false positive” of a big political year shouldn’t deter our attention from focusing on that big money spigot labeled “digital.”
We’ve got to figure this out.
It’s time to walk the walk.