Have you noticed the change? Yes, there is a digital revolution. But I am referring to the subtle but profound change in the media research departments. With the incessantly growing number of media there is more data coming out than ever before. Yet there are dramatically fewer media research people filtering that data to find the nuggets for the sales teams to sell.
A long, long time ago, say pre 2000, our media world and media research world was a lot simpler. We had ABC in newspaper research, Nielsen for TV, Arbitron for radio, MRI for magazines etc. And we had research directors whose prime responsibility was to mine the research and pull strong stories for the sales teams to go out and sell. In some of the larger newspapers there could be half a dozen or so folks. In other media, radio, TV, periodicals there were 1 or 2. Then came digital.
The digital world started serving consumers and slicing time and audiences from traditional media. Traditional media weren’t blind to the power of the web and wisely promoted it as an additional, interactive distribution channel for their brand. The law of supply and demand came into play and the perceived value of digital was lower than that of its legacy counterpart. The paradigm change became ‘trading legacy media dollars for digital dimes’. This put pressure on the media to cut expenses in order to keep a respectable bottom line.
Then there was 2008 and the recession that some call a depression. The phrase ‘flat is the new up’ was coined as we adjusted our expectations for the future. Through it all, the ranks of media researchers and media research departments was were decimated.
Today, the media world is more fragmented than ever. Not only do we have the traditional media but also we have their associated websites and their associated apps on mobile devices. Advertisers have their own Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, blogs, and websites, and let’s not forget the digital only platforms that are taking their slice of the ad dollar. Today the advertising world is hyper competitive and it is not likely to slow down. And with all of these alternatives there is data!
In this cyclone of cultural change, media managers are trying to figure where it is going and what can they do to take advantage of the change. YET we have fewer people to figure out what to do with all of the data, as in giving all those numbers meaning and to help turn those numbers into revenue. After all what good are the numbers if they aren’t being used? Ironic!
For the astute managers it is evident it is time to
• take advantage of the changes and the confusion
• staff up their research resources (ie people)
• become a preferred supplier by helping advertisers understand the continual change in the consumer’s media world.
A preferred supplier earns higher rates and increased share of the budget based on their added value. Software systems like The Media Audit’s proprietary software can be invaluable in quickly and easily producing compelling revenue generating presentations from the sea of data.
Also, there are contracting services that can be invaluable in producing sales presentations from our data. The bottom line, there’s a lot of revenue opportunities sitting in the avalanche of numbers and astute media managers understand that added (personnel) resources will yield a solid ROI when they mine those numbers.