Nancy Lane, CEO, and Penny Riordan, director of business strategy and partnerships, attended the Borrell Miami 2022 Local Advertising Conference earlier this week among others from Local Media Association. Here are their observations and takeaways from the conference.
“Prepare to go outside your comfort zone” is advice we always give to first-time attendees of Borrell Associates events. The long anticipated wait for #BorrellMiami2022 absolutely delivered on this advice, from the very first session to the very last. Things are going to change dramatically in the next 10 years. Are you ready to embrace that change and seize new opportunities?
There were many great takeaways. Here are a few that really got our attention:
Transformation A and Transformation B are back. Do you have a plan? Scott Anthony from Innosight, the long-time colleague of the late, great Clayton Christensen, brought us back a decade with a renewed focus on dual transformation. We must innovate on both the legacy business and new opportunities. In some ways, this seemed unbelievable (and frustrating) to be going back in time to The Innovator’s Dilemma. But then it hit us — the industry is finally ready to do this. It was backed up by two amazing presentations from Bill Wilson, CEO, Townsquare Media, and John Garrett, CEO and founder, Community Impact Newspaper. Townsquare used radio as a Trojan horse to build a digital marketing and advertising company. 47% of its revenue now comes from digital. Community Impact is launching newspapers in new markets while also being intensely focused on a digital future. The company has grown newsletter subscribers by 60% and increased digital revenue by 43% in the first quarter of 2022.
Any guesses on what advertising revenue will look like in 2032? Enter the scary stuff, so be warned. The comfort zone is now being threatened. Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, shared his projections for 2032: 95% of ad buys will include digital media. It’s 78% today, so that is not a shocker. Only 4% will include newspapers. It’s 38% today. Only 5% will include broadcast TV, down from 14% today. Cable TV and printed directories go to zero. Radio will drop to 27%, down from 39%, which seems like a positive compared to all the others. All local media must work harder on their digital strategy in order to compete for advertising in the future.
How will we reach Gen Z? Corey Elliott, executive vice president of local market intelligence at Borrell, made us laugh at times and cringe at times. This generation will be hard to reach using traditional methods. For starters, you have eight seconds to reach them with a marketing message — it better be good. They buy the majority of their products online and look for brands that are aligned with their mission and values. Gen Z grew up as natural content creators and therefore understand what engages on social media and what does not. Facebook and Meta are banking on Gen Z and this makes sense. They are social media natives who love gaming and all things digital (including cryptocurrency). They are a natural fit to hire for social media management and digital content creation — although many of them prefer side gigs to full-time employment!
Did you know that local advertising is bigger than national? That’s what Michael Beach, CEO of Cross Screen Media, shared in the State of the Screens in 2022. Beach shared a projection that up to 1 million advertisers are buying video, and a majority of them are spending money on Facebook. The average view in Facebook is less than 2 seconds, so it’s important for advertisers to make their video relevant right away. A few other trends that Beach noted were about the continued bundling of sales. All screens will be bought and sold together in a cross-screen format and all video advertising will be bought and sold against audiences vs. age/gender. Advertisers will also place more value on performance over reach and frequency.
In an ultra-competitive job market, how long does your hiring process take, and are you losing people along the way? That’s the question Robert Hawthorne, president of Hawthorne Executive Search, asked attendees. Hawthorne shared that in a recent survey, the average candidate is weighing between two and five job offers. Because employees are receiving so many offers, they are also expecting the recruitment, interviewing and hiring process to move along more quickly. Companies should take a look at their processes and see if there are pain points such as too many interviews, outdated interview questions, or delays between wrapping up interviews and offers going out. He suggested hiring managers put themselves in the prospective candidates’ shoes to see if they were asking too much.
Digital transformation greatly accelerated during the pandemic. This is a good thing. Local media companies now need to do everything in their power to continue at that pace and push beyond their comfort zone. The next 10 years will define the future of our industry. There is much work to do.