Is Your Station Going The Way Of The Shopping Mall?
by Andrew Curran
Have you visited a shopping mall lately? Retail is under attack.
In 2012, a headline in Forbes announced, “Target Declares War on Online Competition.” The article detailed a variety of price matching and coupon strategies along with exclusive items including a high end partnership with Neiman March and upscale designers.
Fast forward to 2017. On their quarterly earnings call, Target CEO Brian Cornell wasn’t announcing victory. Rather, he proclaimed, “Our industry is in the midst of a seismic shift.”
COO John Mulligan doubled down by saying, “To put it bluntly, we are slow and have too much inventory.”
Target will spend $3 billion to renovate 600 locations and another $7 billion to bolster its e-commerce efforts.
Want to see the decline of retail first hand? Don’t go to the newest lifestyle center in your area with an Apple store. Check out a shopping mall with anchors like JC Penny and Sears that has been around for 40 years.
See if your experience matches my own recent visit to a Cincinnati area mall.
More disconcerting than the closed stores is the lack of people. My visit was on a Tuesday at lunch and it happened to be a rainy day – perfect for indoor retail. But then, why would there be any people, if most of the stores have closed? Still, the lack of people preceded the store closings.
It’s the embodiment of the challenges for brick and mortar in a mobile world. In retail you can see it. In radio it’s harder to see, but audio consumption is certainly going it’s own seismic shift.
The call letters in your market that occupy the equivalent of anchor store positions are still getting their unfair share of the pie (both listening and revenue). But the slice is shrinking in many markets. How are the stations in your market that would fill the inside locations of the radio shopping mall doing? Are some of these stations simply being included in combo packages, with insufficient audience to justify an independent spot value?
The Path Forward
Every year, $3.3 trillion dollars is spent at retail. According to Forrester Research, just 10% that amount is actually happening online. That figure is just 8.3% in the US, according to Census data:
Yet, today’s retailer must cater to their core customer in ways thought unnecessary just a few years ago. They have to go with the trends, yet must lever consumer data and in-store technology.
Combining Traditional and Mobile
Most importantly, the best companies seamlessly integrate e-commerce with retail. With the rising cost of two day shipping and free returns, some retailers view online as a loss leader. Their goal is to remain highly profitable at physical locations.
Is radio following retail’s path? Instead of worrying about cannibalizing audiences, what if stations started viewing online as complementary to on-air listening? What if we increased connection and engagement with the brand in our fragmented world?
The online experience can’t just be a poorly executed version of our core product. As actual radios disappear from homes and offices, a stream is the most convenient way to consume your station. If we don’t, we may find more radio stores disappearing from our center court.
Author: Andrew Curran
Andrew Curran is the President and COO of DMR/Interactive, the leading strategic marketing agency for radio and digital audio platforms. DMR/Interactive provides data analytics and integrated marketing strategies that include precision-targeted, multi-contact personalized campaigns across mobile, digital, social, telephony, direct mail, e-mail, word-of-mouth and database marketing services. For more information, visit DMR
Following programming roles with ESPN Radio and iHeart Media, Mr. Curran joined DMR/Interactive in 2004, was named COO in 2011 and President in 2013. He has been a featured speaker at numerous industry conferences including Nielsen Audio’s Client Conference and Hispanic PD Clinic, the Country Radio Seminar, CMB Momentum Summit and the Worldwide Radio Summit.
Curran was named a 2012 Radio Ink Rising Star of Radio and also serves as a board member and past president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati, OH. Curran graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College and received his MBA from Thomas More College. He resides in Cincinnati, OH with his wife Liz and their four children: Anna, Bridget, James and Claire.
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