In his opening keynote speech at Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC on November 15th, it only took author/marketing guru Seth Godin about five minutes before mentioning radio and the music industry.
According to Godin, 1972 was the perfect year for the music business. The reason? Scarcity of choice.
If you wanted to purchase an album, you had to go to a brick and mortar record store.
If you loaned someone your album, you generally needed to go buy another one.
If you wanted to discover new music, you had to hear it on a radio station.
The spokes of the music industry wheel all benefited from exclusivity – the record stores, radio stations and record companies.
Today, of course, you can download music and stream music from a seemingly endless potpourri of providers. You can watch videos for free on YouTube.
Like so many other industries, scarcity of choice has been replaced with abundance.
While Seth Godin doesn’t provide a prescription for the music industry, he does preach differentiation and content. Marketing conferences send out a parade of thought leaders all selling one thing in many different packages.
Stand out with content, content, content.
When Godin first self-published his 2003 breakthrough book, “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable”, the title was printed sideways and it was delivered in a milk carton if ordered by mail. Naturally, it was also very purple.
Radio’s been doing this kind of thing for a very long time.
Flashback to 1974 Los Angeles. Shadoe Stevens was hired to program KMET, an underperforming free-form rock station. Stevens differentiated the station by adding high energy production value and jingles, and placing billboards and stickers all around town with the logo in reverse and upside down. Sound familiar?
Godin provides great examples of companies coming up with unique ideas to differentiate. A lawn service that uses GPS to provide homeowners with exact pricing based on the size of their yard. Tesla calling their 0-60 in 2.2 seconds technology “Ludicrous Mode”.
The fact of the matter is, while everyone is currently trying to figure out content creation, radio professionals have been masters at this for decades. Radio stations are innovation labs for promotions, imaging, production, format creation and much more. Air talent comes up with fresh content for their stations on a daily basis.
If the path to differentiation is content, radio has the people that are up to the challenge.
What’s your milk carton?