A couple of weeks ago a handful of my colleagues and I attended the Radio Works conference. As an agency that has a bit of a love affair with radio we attend every year. 2012's format was as compelling as ever but also a shade unnerving. Let me explain.
The majority of the speakers, when discussing radio, seemed eager to offer reassurance that it was still a relevant medium. Mostly though, when they spoke, they wound their way towards the conclusion that in order to reach our desired markets, we need to try something else. Because what we're doing now, on radio along with the rest of the traditional media family, simply isn't working. I feel I may be a little late to the party as this isn't new information and other people have said it far better than I have, but the fact that consumers are desensitised to our messaging from years of overexposure is a truth that we as agencies can't ignore anymore.
Still relevant... for now at least
Don't worry though; just like radio, the rest of traditional media is "still relevant" - for now at least, and that's all good and well. But in the boxing match between marketing and the public's waning interest in its message, when the body of traditional media 'hits the floor', I don't think it'll be able to get up for another swing. Hell, it's probably already happened and we're just blindly feeding on the corpse before rigor mortis sets in. Who knows? We'll get away with it for a lot longer in this country because the vast majority of the population doesn't really have a choice at the moment. They can't skip ahead on their PVRs because that's a luxury afforded to a lucky few. However, that too will change with time and that's a very good thing. Why? Because it seems a little irresponsible to piss away our clients' budgets on expensive campaigns if no one is really listening.
If the public is immune to our message, no matter how much we dress it up, ultimately we're all just going to have to get better at what we do. And I don't mean figuring out how to deliver those messages in ever more insidious ways. No. I think a good start would be to try being better people. A decent person wouldn't want to feed egos, their own or their clients'. A nice person wouldn't want to poison a captive audience with messages they have no interest in hearing, but rather to get better at conversing with an audience in a way that transcends traditional media and even that black hole of corporate rands - social media.
Ultimately, a good person would want to spend their clients' money wisely and steer them in a direction that would yield the results we all want in an honourable way.
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