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Posted in Uncategorized on November 16, 2011
Last week I met some new people. Well, new to me. Turns out that what they do isn’t new at all, I was just ignorant of their work. One person’s innovation is another person’s normal.
We met in London, on semi-neutral ground, bringing different perspectives to the table, from different areas of the UK. And yet we were all representing local, through our own lens.
The catalyst for the meeting was Matt Waring from Addiply (@mattwaring, @addiplylondon), the local online ad platform that brings both editorial control and pricing model control for local site managers across the UK.
The ‘new’ part for me was Jaqui Devereux and Donald McTernan from the Community Media Association. The CMA support around 220 local community radio stations around the UK. They sit on panels helping to shape the local media landscape, and represent broadcast at a not just local level, but more importantly, a local community level.
And representing EMO, and therefore local marketers everywhere, was me.
We went around the table, each sharing who we were, what we did, and what we thought we might get from the meeting (you know the drill). Matt kicked us off knowing, as they do, EMO’s local bent and the CMA’s and their affiliated stations growing need to replace a model based on funding, to one advertising and partnership revenues from other sources. Addiply’s individual (per site) control model may well be a solution for the CMA’s stations with a simple route to ‘monetising’ their websites, bringing as it does the opportunity to determine how, and how much advertisers will be charged. But perhaps more importantly, for a network defined by its diversity, Addiply’s platform provides editorial control over advertisers content. For in this space it is the community that defines what is right and wrong for the community to support, not a sales team for another organisation.
Jaqui followed on, and described to me a world of local empowerment, the blurred lines between small independent commercial radio and community radio, the governance that gives the network structure, but also legitimacy. The passion is tangible, and feels very much like it is powered by the trust placed in the CMA by the network of stations they represent. Interesting and important work is already going on direct with government bodies, targeted support for local communities to get the right messages about local health services and opportunity to the communities they serve. The organisation is set-up for, and very good at, empowerment, support and representation – but in addition to this they need to first craft and then magnify the commercial opportunity to help these stations survive, and thrive. Developments around the opening up of the analogue transmission network, Local TV and web transmission provide new and exciting opportunities, which all cost money.
I closed the loop. Matt and Jaqui has asked me to look a the situation from the perspective of our agency, from agencies in general and from that of the local advertiser. So I spoke about our work, our targeting and how traditional radio broadcast very regularly doesn’t meet our criteria (or our local clients’ briefs) in terms of relevance, reach/wastage, or response. (NB: Which is not to say that Independent Local Radio is a channel to be dismissed – in the right mix it is very powerful – but rarely do we find we can hone down the audience with the detail that our consultancy results require).
This is where the CMA’s network hold the aces. But aces, from a different pack of cards. Their stations aren’t bound by the need for wide reach and multiple zero’s in their audience figures. They are focussed on their community. Their audience is what it is. Some listeners form a regular, daily audience, some cherry pick the right content, in the right language, at the right time of day. They aren’t held by an intangible demographic group, but by shared beliefs, ethnicity, interest and a shared location. This is powerful stuff for EMO – in the right situation, for the right brief it could be the perfect storm of relevant content, passionate editorial, specific and shared community perspective. But miss by an inch and it might as well be miles away from right.
And therein lies the CMA’s challenge. Commerciality in terms of standard media planning rely on reach, which their network has in pockets. The value of specific and targeted reach goes head to head with general awareness from larger audiences.
I am looking forward to seeing where this goes.
Does your note book have lines on it? The chances are it does. Why? Because that’s what gets listed in the stationery order, and because that’s what you used at school to keep your handwriting neat:
‘Research findings provide strong evidence that, for the majority of children, use of lined paper facilitates more legible handwriting than unlined paper’ (Alston & Taylor 1987, p 76)
We’re conditioned to it. We write notes, we want them to be neat so we can read them again later. But the lines also condition your thinking as well as your script. They make writing words the ‘normal’ way to use a notebook. And yet so much of what we do requires illustration, demonstration, process, stakeholders, providers, flows of information and relationships. These are hard to capture in long-hand, and even harder to be accurate and descriptive. So notes miss accuracy, connection, emotion because our brain is trying to fit everything in the little spaces provided by the lines.
Essentially, for nearly everything we do, the object of our activity should be simple enough to sketch out freehand. In fact it will almost always be easier to write up, present or demonstrate later because you are thinking and recording in the same way your brain was working at the time you captured it. And most importantly, if you can’t show graphically what you are trying to achieve in a project, how easy do you think it will be to write it down long hand and expect others to understand?
Next time you finish a notebook, ask for ones free of restrictions (Note: don’t actually ask for “a book free from restrictions”, you’ll get some very strange looks). Turn it landscape whilst you scribble – amazingly this is the same format you’ll use when you type or draw them up later on on your computer. Draw shapes and connect them with links. Put large asterisks where you want to note detail or actions. Draw a smiley face where you want to describe good things (in fact scribbled graphical notes make it much easier to get away with doodling when you’re bored of the meeting – but you didn’t hear this from me!!)
Break free from your lines. And your brain and your colleagues and your clients will thank you.
How important is it to get your Google Places page searching well?
See this heat map, how this eye tracking study shows the focus of the viewers view and length of view on the local listings held next to the map. What I’d like to see, if anyone can find it is some research to show how long people look at the search results page, and what percentage of users ‘just click’ the first link irrespective of what else is being served. For those of you involved in advising dealers/branches/services make sure that not only they have claimed their Google Places page but that they have optimised it by putting it in the right categories (they can be in more than one) and that their titling and support content help drive the right sort of traffic.
Released today, there is a new feature on Google Places page management area. Announced on Google’s Places blog, it allows verified page owners to answer their critics in the ‘Reviews’ section. Clearly a much needed feature for the local marketer, and, carefully used, customer services issues will now be able to be quickly and professionally handled. Turning a negative into a positive, and a positive into an excellent recommendation. Typically form Google it’s ‘a bit later than you’d have liked’, but this will help everyone get a better view on the veracity of the customer’s review, and the outlet’s capability for handling customers correctly.
Ever the experimenter, Google are testing new results pages where local natural listings and maps feature far more prominently than ever before.
With local now storming up the agenda across the search sector, large national and international brands need to strategically plan and support their local networks like never before.
Read a full write-up of the pilot pages here, at Mike Blumenthal’s excellent “Understanding Google Maps and Local Search” blog. (Details of the discovery were provided to Mike by Linda Buquet of Catalyst eMarketing).
Click the image below to see an actual size version.
Posted in Hyperlocal on June 15, 2010
Reported today in Brand Republic, Daily Mail and General Trust’s (DMGT) network of hyperlocal news and community websitesLocal people has reached its century and plans to double in size over the course of the next 12 months. This is great news for
users and advertisers alike. Their sites allow local residents to report on local issues and events, alongside community editors and provide a fantastic platform for very specific advertising within a targeted, geographically discreet audience. Powerful stuff.
At a recent conference in Seattle (SMX Advanced), Bing presented metrics about the differing timescales of the search process between fixed line and mobile searchers. Understandably, the process for 70% mobile users is done and dusted within an hour, as we assume that the information is either immediately vital, or only fleetingly important.
The source of this data is from Greg Sterling on the Internet2Go.net blog and their key outtake was “most of these mobile search queries are commercial (directly or indirectly) and they’re going to be fulfilled or completed, in the majority of cases, in the real world — offline.”
So, how are you prepared for mobile, informed, immediate customers?