Magazine article Marketing

Forward Thinking Essays 2012: Radio, Mark Barber Radio Advertising Bureau, Upwardly Mobile Radio

Magazine article Marketing

Forward Thinking Essays 2012: Radio, Mark Barber Radio Advertising Bureau, Upwardly Mobile Radio

Article excerpt

Figures show radio is still a popular medium with a mood-enhancing effect, while studies suggest it has immense potential to drive consumers to interact with social and mobile brand activity.

In predicting in 2012 the big themes that might drive the post-internet world, you could do worse than reflect on some words from cyberpunk novelist William Gibson. Speaking during a radio interview from the mid-90s, he said: 'The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet.'

On the basis of digital column inches, conference platforms and executive time dedicated to fathoming how best to exploit them, it's fair to say that last year the future of marketing was dominated by two topics - social and mobile.

Branded mobile apps and Facebook pages were 2011's de rigeur addition to most media plans. It was a rare day when one could read the online trade publications without being bombarded by impossibly big numbers reflecting the scale of social or the growth spurt that mcommerce is going to experience in the next five years.

In many cases, however, the desire to be associated with these platforms too often obscures the business reason for being there. As we have learned over the past 15 years with the web, there's still a lot of working through to be done before we fully understand the value of these channels as brand marketing tools, and can exploit them to their optimum potential.

In seeking this, history suggests we should look beyond the channels themselves to identify what might stimulate significant progress this year. The reality is that offline media is, and will remain, a vital component in exploiting online or on-demand media to its full potential.

The good news is that, despite the doom-mongers predicting that the rise in on-demand content would precipitate a slow lingering death for traditional media channels, offline broadcast linear media - radio and TV - remain in remarkably robust health. The consumer offering of an edited content stream played out in real time is as relevant as ever.

It is undeniable that Britain loves radio, with a record 47m adults listening every week in 2011 for 23 hours on average, and almost 34m tuning into the commercial sector alone.

Beyond scale of audience, it's a fact that digital evangelists are wont to undervalue the distinct functions that different media serve in people's lives. Freely available and effortless to consume, radio plays a unique emotional role for the listener - lifting their mood when engaged in other tasks, whenever, wherever - a role that it is impossible for other media to fulfil to the same degree. …

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