Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Local News Suppliers Need to Make Their Content Mobile-Accessible

Comment on MediaBizBloggers (Jack Meyer Report blog) re: Steve Rosenbaum's insight into where local news/info is going to shift in terms of targeting as smartphone heat up the LBS channel. Read his piece here: Mobile is the New Local

This really is a simple, but industry-changing insight, Steve. Thanks!

It is not just about the 'third screen' (or what's swiftly becoming our primary screen), nor is it about local search (LBS), it's about the fact that what has become largely IRRELEVANT to most of us near home (local newspapers and their content) is of ENORMOUS value/interest to mobile-carrying visitors. That's a target shift no one is really thinking about, per se, outside of LBS providers (and I suspect even the latter are really thinking about it more as a local service for people who are in their home towns).

This suggests a MAJOR shift in strategy for all those local newspapers and cable stations, thinking about what they gather and provide in a drastically new way, not for the neighbors (and not necessarily printed), but for transient visitors passing through and supplied via mobile internet access, that's a very big shift in focus. London's weekly 'Time Out' guide (now in many major cities worldwide) are way out in front in the way that they serve up information/news, and Toronto's NOW weekly was also switched on to the tourist target early on -- but I haven't yet seen these (or any other) local content providers really jumping on this opportunity yet, however your insight shows them the way!

What does this simple insight suggest about how all marketers should be thinking about how smartphones are used? They are NOT simply a new way to "push" TV ads into consumers' brains, the local, and global, content people are now accessing is seamlessly overlaid. The marketing messages they're willing to assimilate are ever-more blended into their news and personal communication. The mobile platform is unlike both the TV screen AND the computer screen as it is becoming the ONLY screen young people use, or need (and to bang an old insight drum of mine, once Bluetooth video projection glasses become ubiquitous, the size of the screen becomes virtually IMAX in dimension -- buy MyVU/EZVision stock now!).

This is changing the fundamentals of how marketing is done. We already know 'push' is gone, and the GRP (repeated :30) along with it. Where we're going now is a brave new world, a direction that John Gerzema and Ed Lebar in Booz & Co's Strategy+Business article titled "The Trouble with Brands" call 'brand energy'. It's about figuring out how to walk away from the old 'brand equity' metrics of trust, awareness, regard and esteem and look at 'energy differentiation'. My latest label: "brand experience", is likely also too narrow -- perhaps we should be calling it 'brand energization' or, to be more forward-thinking, walk away from the notion of 'BRANDS' and 'BRANDING' altogether and talk about simply 'energizing products' in such a fundamentally compelling way that people become attached to them (yes, just another way of saying the product has achieved 'brand' status).

What is also part of this new revolution in how we think about marketing, however, is the notion of long-term brand loyalty. It is possible that we need to start thinking about brands as sometimes disposable fads, like Pet Rocks or Crocs: milk them for as long as you can, then let them fade and start new ones! Sure, David Ogilvy and every BM at P&G are rolling over in their graves (or cubicles), but we can't keep injecting new flavours, packages and line extensions into the marketplace forever without something snapping!

Anyway, just a thought.

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