We were in a meeting last week reviewing media options for the upcoming fall schedule for a particular client.  Obviously lots of alternatives in the area of “emerging” digital media surfaced.  New services from Facebook, native media plays, new pay-per-click options, etc.  One potential tactic, the addition of Pandora to the schedule evoked some interesting conversation.  Obviously it, along with satellite radio, are gaining momentum.  Pandora offers several benefits that traditional, a.k.a. “terrestrial” radio does not offer or provide as well.  Extreme targeting by age bracket, pay per served customer (only) and hyper-targeted geography.  Plus, there is a more, shall we say, restrained approach to advertising.  For what client interested in radio would this not make sense (you might logically ask)?

Well, the answer happens to be: our client…who client quickly reacted with: “that’s not us.”  A moment passed and then the collective realization that our strategy is essentially a local strategy.  Pandora, along with many of the emerging digital technologies just don’t feel local.  Despite their geographic targeting capabilities which are typically more specific than the ADI, DMA or metro area, they are not local media.  There isn’t a local announcer with a local accent, the presence of other indigenous marketers, local sponsorship opportunities, local “value-added” promotions or the possibility for on-the-ground presence.  And, perhaps most importantly, it isn’t what the folks is Tuscaloosa listen to.

The implication for me and my clever media friends is: 1) you have to constantly learn and explore the new alternatives but 2) let’s not get too fancy too quickly.  Local still matters.

Local Radio