Legacy platforms still the surest way to reach local consumers at scale
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Legacy platforms still the surest way to reach local consumers at scale

New York City : NY : USA | Sep 26, 2013 at 1:08 PM PDT
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With all the hype surrounding new media and the capabilities new platforms are providing, it's easy to shy away from the simple fact that legacy platforms are the driving force behind local engagement.

“Even today with the explosion of the online marketplace,” opened Andrew Capone, the senior vice president of marketing and business development for NCC Media, explaining that consumer dollars are almost always spent “within a 14-mile radius of the home.”

Speaking during Advertising Week on behalf of Verizon Fios Advertising, General Manager Jason Malamud explained that one of the key issues his team is working on is the steady division of markets.

“On the technology side you've got increasing fragmentation,” said Malamud. “We're trying to re-aggregate those.

Patrick Walsh of Emmis Communications' radio division said that, “It's an interesting time in radio, if you look at the challenges.”

He described a shifting landscape that is seeing a move toward mobile, with FM radio now streaming live through smartphone apps and local personalities benefiting greatly from social media engagement.

“For the first time in the history of radio, we have data on consumers,” said Walsh. “We have our own station apps [and] our personalities – they have an exploding market.”

While there is definitely a positive side to the shifting trends in radio, Walsh is hoping for a settling down period. “I would love to tell you that the big adjustment is behind us, but it's not.”

He gave something of a prediction when he referred to “the revolution that is about to take place in the center stack in the car,” saying, “This is a big deal for audio providers – it may be a big deal for video providers.”

Lisa Bradner, senior vice president for local strategy at MediaVest , works specifically on the team responsible for local WalMart advertising and said it is important to weigh the options available to optimize platforms based on what works where.

“We are looking to make sure that we're strategically aligned with where the customer is going,” said Bradner.

She also said that while many marketers today are focusing on gathering data about individuals, she is more interested in segments.

“We're all kind of silo-ed in our data streams,” said Bradner. “I don't need to understand the individual–I need to understand the segments.”

At Time Warner Cable, GVP of Marketing Fred Bucher agreed with Bradner's assessment that it is important to weigh the value that can be added by performing certain tasks on the local scene and others at the corporate level. Their model has been “having creative be centralized but also having that local contact.”

The question he and his team had to ask themselves was, “How quickly can we bring that into the market and then work with that with the right partners and then also bring that to scale?”

The bottom line is that legacy platforms maintain “the advantage of having roots in the community,” and with that, these platforms can leverage a lot of power, according to Capone. “No matter what people say […] they're looking to reach the local consumer.”

Bucher was highly critical of Nielsen's ratings system, calling them “woefully inadequate,” and felt that its inadequacies were leading marketers to believe that his industry is waning, when in fact, “TV [is] still far and away the dominant medium” when it comes to driving ad content.

“Local cable is not getting enough credit from Nielsen for what we are bringing to the table,” said Bucher.

Malamud has hopes that with new collaborations in the ratings-gathering game, there will be some great advances in the capabilities of pipeline industries' ability to target local consumers at maximum effective scale.

“We're hopeful that the Nielsen-Arbitron relationship will lead to someone who drives to work listening to our station then goes in to the office or puts in their earbuds and goes down to Starbucks that [they will be accessing] the same media,” said Malamud.

TVB President and CEO Steve Lanzano also spoke to the lack of Nielsen's ability to truly monitor the traffic being driven through television.

“The issue that we have had is having to monetize something that's not measured,” said Lanzano. “The bottom line is that Nielsen is going to be able to measure that as of September next year.”

VP of Advanced Advertising for DirecTV, Inc., Tom Hagopian, said that for his company, the need to reach the local consumer and then to bring that local reach to scale is a central concern.

“DirecTV historically was always a ‘tweener,” said Hagopian. “We weren't really configured to operate in the local space.”

To accomplish this task, DirecTV teamed up with NCC to utilize addressable technology, pushing for a data-driven approach, with Hagopian saying his team was aware that, “A lot of that started in the digital world and is migrating into the traditional.”

All of the panelists advocated a hybrid approach, sharing in Lanzano's view that, “We want our content to be everywhere, we want our consumer to be able to access that everywhere […] but we want to be able to measure that.”

The truth is, Capone added in a post-panel interview, these legacy outlets “reach the bulk of that market, whether it be through television, or radio or newspapers, even if it's not 'cool.'”

This article is part of Allvoices' coverage of Advertising Week, the world's largest and most important advertising gathering. This series is supported by Advertising Week.

Check out http://www.allvoices.com/advertisingweek for more coverage.

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NCC Media Panel
As part of the tenth annual Advertising Week at the Times Center, NCC Media hosted a panel entitled, "The Battle for the Local Consumer."
ChaseCollum is based in New York City, New York, United States of America, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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