Advertisers at a crossroads – Broadcasters to the rescue

In the News Social & Digital
Fred Jacobs

We may be at an inflection point in media. As broadcasters, we know the past several years have been profoundly challenging. TV operators are faced with pressures from umpteen content providers, including SVOD, a game changer in the den, living room, or man cave. And on the radio side of the spectrum, podcasting, audio streaming, and satellite radio are all putting pressure on broadcasters to create great local content.

But as difficult as the journey has been for those who own or run broadcasting outlets, advertisers find themselves every bit as challenged to optimize their marketing, much less not be left behind by savvier competitors. Everyone’s clamoring for accountability and digital solutions, but few understand what this looks like.

And at the center is a tug of war between short terms results (that President’s Day Sale) and the long haul of effective brand building.

At the core of this dilemma, brand managers, business owners, and ad agencies is the dearth of great creative. It is so much easier to default to a web campaign that may have an initial impact on sales or attendance, but fail to build a quality, lasting brand.

When you’re the Packers, Harley-Davidson, or Kopp’s, it may not matter. Those brands were built through vision, hard work, great creative, wonderful teams, and strong word of mouth.

But even these mature brands find themselves in need of brand makeovers – or at least strategic tweaks from time to time. The Packers are competing with big screen TV, computers, and smart phones – all part of the sports media scene. Harley-Davidson may have been the dominant brand among Baby Boomers, but must retool for the next generation. And Kopp’s – well, perhaps they’re in good shape thanks in no small part to the vision and focus of its founder, Elsa Kopp.

These are all venerable, iconic brands that have stood the test of time. But for the other 95 percent of businesses, corporations, and associations trying to stand out in an ever-crowded pack, the reach and frequency offered by broadcast media – coupled with great creative that tells a brand’s story – makes radio and TV a unique marketing proposition.

In our numbers-heavy, Big Data world, analysts tend to get so caught up with counting clicks, likes, and retweets they lose sight of results.

As Sue Higgs, creative director at the Grey London agency recently explained to The Drum. “Everything that we try to do in the creative industry is very hard to quantify – our experience, craft, gut – where everyone else can put a metric on it.”

But the numbers that truly matter are results, and the trust and loyalty that emanate from brands that play a long game, rather than be satisfied with momentary bursts of business activity are as lasting – and as harmful as – steroids.

We may have come a long way since the days of Don Draper and Darren Stevens, but digital media has not managed to match the tried and true method of building brands – on traditional media with strong creative. We are bullish on digital as a revenue growth opportunity for broadcasters and work with many Wisconsin broadcasters to help develop their digital strategies. But at the end of the day, good old advertising on radio and television still deliver both for the short – and long – term.

We should never lose sight of that.

-Fred Jacobs

For any questions regarding your digital strategy, contact Jacobs Media at  The WBA Hotline is a free service to members of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.