Monday, February 8, 2010

Beware the lame marketer
Using 20th Century measuring tools
Measuring radio and television audience

Mondays are my night for television – Chuck, Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory. Doesn’t mean I watch these shows on television. I gave up on television about two years ago when I calculated there are about 8 minutes of advertising for each half-hour show; time better spent on the treadmill than watching commercials.

This led me to a quandary. For years television shows set their advertising rate by the number of viewers a show has. How does a television show measure its viewers when we’re watching at non-tracked Web sites like Ch131.com?

How do corporations measure their advertising effectiveness and how do broadcast companies set their rates when they REALLY have no idea how many people are watching the show? Catch Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers on YouTube. How do advertisers calculated a show that may have broadcast two years ago and I’m just catching it on YouTube?

It also shows advertisers –like the United States Census Bureau which spent $2.5-million on Super Bowl advertising yesterday – are totally out of touch with 21st Century marketing tools. The Census Bureau is squandering your tax dollars with 20th Century thinking.

I’m as guilty as everyone else on this. I still look at Billboard measurement to see which artists are topping the charts. I also realize charts don’t tell the story they did 20 years ago – during the 20th Century – when charts measured and counted sales. Right now I’m enjoying Miley Cyrus on AOL radio. How do radio stations count me as a listener? How do stations count those who moved from one city to the next and still listen to their favorite DJs online?

Public relations practitioners today tout ROI – a bastardized concept of a formula I developed in 1985 to count media audience, circulation and what the ad equivalent would be for the space or minutes garnered. Even a quarter of a century ago this was a flimsy method, but better than nothing. There’s a word for those using ROI in the Internet age – lame.

Just last week the Phoenix Business Journal published a report from one of those lame practitioners; touting Facebook as #4 news source on the Internet. The Phoenix Business Journal ran with the story – as they always do – without checking its source. Turns out for more than six months Facebook has been #2 on Alexa and other 21st Century marketing tools measurement devices.

Today there are more tools for accurately measuring who is getting your message than ever before in history. Watch out for the lame practitioner still offering 20th Century tools, like ROI. Demand more for your $$$.

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