Tuesday, September 04, 2007

"When deciding what to do, don't do it because it's safe and sensible or because others expect it. Do something because you love it so much you'll be miserable if you don't." Denise Di Novi

"It is important to have determination and optimism and patience. If you lack patience, even when you face some small obstacle, you lose courage. There is a Tibetan saying, 'Even if you have failed at something nine times, you must continue and not lose hope.' I think that is important. Use your brain to analyze the situation. Do not rush through it, but think. Once you decide what to do about that obstacle, then there is a possibility to achieve your goal." The Dalai Lama

"The optimist believes in the triumph of hope over expectations. My favorite definition of which is: An accordion player with a beeper." Ted Koppel

This being the traditional official half-time for 2007 measured media sales, forecasters are revisiting their numbers. On the day job we continue to stand on our projected +1.6% finish for radio, while Zenith - so I am told this afternoon - is standing on their call for a 1.5% improvement by year end. Hard times out there. The RAB is saying local and national spot are down 1% for the first half, a half ended flat when network and NTR dollars are added to the totals. Network being up 3% and NTR up 12%.

The continuing challenge for radio is local. In the first half of this year, as in most, the majority of radio revenues were local. This year's RAB half-time report clocks local at 77.4%. Local, not spent online, is growing for outdoor but not broadcast. Local online continues to grow. We estimate almost $3 billion will be spent in online local by year end. However, in the big picture, local expressed as a percentage of the total ad spend is not increasing and remains about a third or less of all dollars in play.

Broadcast has to deal with the same issues now critically important to the dead tree guys. How to hold or improve topline for traditional inventory while continuing to ramp online and NTR. The just released half-time report for local print suggests they are losing traditional inventory dollars at a rate and volume far greater than the progress being made in online and NTR captures.

As the 08 planning begins in earnest it is perhaps time to look at a few fundamentals...

Leonard Lodish, Howard Morgan and Shellye Archambeau have made an excellent contribution to the conversation about marketing with their new book Marketing That Works (Amazon info). In their first chapter "Marketing-Driven Strategy to Make Extraordinary Money" they make clear what's important, to wit:

Positioning to enhance the value proposition.

"What am I selling to whom, and why will they buy?"

Determining the answers to this seemingly simple question will have more impact on the success of your venture than anything else. The answers will drive the essence of your unique value proposition to your customers.

Well said. It is my considered thought any arithmetic should wait until your team has reached agreement on your value propositions. The solution is not to get better at chasing the same or fewer dollars but rather to get different and do so faster, more effectively than others.

What is your programming value proposition? What is your sales value proposition?

What are you selling to whom?

Why will listeners/viewers/buyers buy?