Marketing Transition: Part 3

When iTunes hit the market, I knew things were changing forever.  It became immediately obvious that once people taste the freedom of  reading/viewing/listening to content when and where they want, they will never go back to being chained to Lost on ABC, Wednesdays at 10 p.m.  RSS feeds and DVR’s have created a communication revolution.  Where it took the Gutenberg machinery a century to kick society into a faster gear, Web 2.0 (social media, etc) is transforming worldwide communication in a few years.

Radio and TV are losing numbers.  In fact, at the Academic Impressions Conference on Integrating Interactive Technologies into Public Relations, and on several blog sites, radio is treated pretty much as a dead issue.*  I’m not sure of that but a lot of stations are scrambling to create a web presence.  By the way, these, too, will fail until they create a new model that’s not focused solely on making as much money with as little effort as possible.

Can TV really compete with video websites and gaming?   I’ll borrow a stat from Bill Mahon:   Ten years ago ER  pulled in 32 million viewers  Last year, it was still one of the top 15 shows with 12.2 million viewers.  They key is that it’s still one of the most popular shows with nearly 20 million fewer viewers.  That means the rest of the popular shows have seen a decline of nearly two-thirds.

While a lot of PR pros operate by studying numbers and doing research, I go by anecdotal evidence, instinct and what’s just plain obvious.

Example: I was talking to a radio sales rep last year and asked her if iTunes had hurt their listenership.  Absolutely not, she said.  The woman had daughters ages 11 and 15.

“Do they have iPods?”  I asked.

“Yes, both of them.”

“Do they use them?”

“All the time!”

“When do they listen to your station?”

She paused.  “In the car when I take them to school.”

I mentioned in a previous post that about 10 years ago I moved the majority of our print ad budget to radio and TV.  Two years ago I began shifting some of our radio/TV budget to Web sites devoted to college bound high school juniors and seniors.  We’re seeing enough activity to make it worth the investment.

I still advertise in college bound magazines but only the ones that have websites because that’s where all the activity and feedback is coming from.

We’re now positioning ourselves for Web 2.0.  I started this blog because I’m passionate about new ways of marketing and communicating.  My news director and sports information director are starting blogs.

I’ll continue to use radio and TV, but less and less as we expand outward on the Web. Our newspaper advertising is at a minimum and whatever we do, it’s to direct readers to the Web.

Many colleges have already made the leap and are doing quite well. 

With the exception of podcasting, I’m fairly new to the 2.0 world so I’ll keep you posted about Mansfield’s adventures.

Comments?   Opinions?

*NPR is not in that category and Mansfield University has been an underwriter for two regional stations for more than a decade.
This week’s blog site pick:  I’m late discovering Robert Scoble’s but after reading a couple posts, I’m a subscriber.  Check him out at


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