Live from Advertising Week: Local Media 2020

The eleventh annual Advertising Week kicked off on Monday with a jam-packed schedule of amazing panels and events. This event gets bigger and bigger every year and I was blown away by the lineup of incredible speakers and insights in the mix.

One of the big themes this week has been data, something my fine colleague Spencer has riffed on in the past.  “Using data will make marketers smarter,” Fred Bucher argued.

But I was particularly impressed with this interesting historical fact from this week: Ogilvy discovered that only 4% of women considered themselves beautiful. This inspired Dove to launch its real beauty campaign to challenge beauty stereotypes and inspire women. The “Fearless” panel on Tuesday was also a huge hit, arguing that marketers need to take big risks to reap bigger rewards.

I was honored to be on the Local Media: Vision 2020 panel with Andrew Capone, Fred Bucher, Steven Lanzano and Steve Lindsley.

For those who couldn’t attend, here at some of the points I wanted to drive home.

Engagement

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A huge theme of this year’s Advertising Week was data, as it should have been. But not all data is created the same, and sometimes marketers need to be actively critical of the data they receive. Radio and television like to measure the sheer numbers of eyeballs and ears reached, but we should take a cue from social media marketers and look also at engagement. Radio has been doing this for years, with call-ins, contests and live events. But new opportunities are constantly being created for cross-platform engagement — and we need to keep using Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms to drive brand engagement.

Relevancy and Context

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Our good friend Lisa Cochrane from Allstate and her panel refused to play the desert island game when asked what singular marketing technique they would bring with them on a desert island. That’s because, as Dana Anderson aptly noted: context is key. Is TV better than digital? Sometimes. Does one medium (including radio), serve as the be-all and end-all of marketing? Absolutely not. Without an intimate knowledge of the context within which your message is received – the message itself can all too often fall flat.

It’s context and relevancy that drives local, and gives local marketers an edge in the future. Each locale has its own needs, cultures and desire. Marketers who know how to speak to those things will always trump their competitors.

The Future

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Engagement, relevancy and context are great starting points for discussing the future of local, but all those things are strategies marketers need to already implement. We can say these things will be vastly important in 2020, but the key is for local marketers to keep up with the amazing onslaught of new technologies which allows marketers to better target their consumers and create meaningful engagement. Whether that’s over the airwaves, on a computer, in your pocket, or on your wrist – we need to leverage these new tools as part of a cross-platform arsenal. Steve Lanzano noted of digital’s relation to broadcast that it’s “additive,” not “instead of.”

The battleground of local in the next 5 years will certainly be over devices, and whatever other innovations Silicon Valley has to throw our way.

We can’t wait. And we’re not afraid to share the playing field. Radio is going to be a bulwark of local engagement in 2020, simply because we’ve been doing for years what new technologies are figuring out. No other medium is more intimate, more connected and more plugged-in to people’s lives than radio.