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January 9, 2013
What Mobile Marketers Can Learn from Radio
Mobile marketers can learn a lot from the first mobile advertising medium — radio. And while the notion sounds retrograde, long established consumer behavior has simply shifted from one device to another. Bleeding edge mobile savants need to pay attention to the not-so-distant past. Consumers brought their analog habits to the mobile digital world.

Radio, like mobile media, has only two key functions; time saving or time wasting. “Utility and entertainment or death” could easily be a shared marketing motto since on-the-go consumers want what they need instantly, have no patience for technical glitches, and can be disappointed and gone in a nanosecond. Customer expectations created by mobility are extremely fickle. It’s not the technology; it’s service and relevance in the moment that counts.

Consider these four lessons from our radio brethren.

We are creatures of habit. We get up and need stimulation. We commute and need to be either distracted, informed, or calmed. And often we need companionship to fall asleep. AM and PM drive times are hard-wired behaviors. Content and devices can be targeted and timed to enhance and to intersect consumers’ day-to-day routines. The better integrated content and devices are into lifestyles and work routines, the better the marketing result.

We rely on mood elevators. We are creatures governed by biorhythms that can be affected by sound, sight, and content. People turn to music, imagery, news, sports, and combative talk to change things up. Content impacts and regulates body chemistry, stress levels, and happiness. Understanding and using these levers, brands can delight consumers. Mobile marketers can provide background and ambient cues or take center stage and drive attention and emotion if they understand who is tuned in, what their frame of mind is, where they are, and what they need.

We are our demographics. Birds of a feather flock together. Most people’s musical tastes are locked in by the time they are 16 and are predictable based on age, geography, income, and education. The people who love Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern are decidedly different. Different musical genres, design and display formats, content areas, and messaging techniques appeal to different audience segments. One size never fits all. Mobile media needs to be programmed like cable TV or radio by deeply understanding and appealing to the psychology, demographics, sensibilities and lifestyles of thin audience slices. It’s all about how the content resonates with the target customer.

Everything is local. The FCC artificially limited the range of radio stations in the licensing process. And even though wireless mobile devices can work almost anywhere, a 10-mile radius bounds most lives. Geo-fencing is a new term but hardly a new concept. Proximity, familiarity, and convenience drive behavior. Mobile content has to leverage GPS and other emerging technologies to connect needs with nearby handy solutions.

And while mobile is the newest media darling, the principles that will drive its success as a commercial medium are as old as Marconi.

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Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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