Jun. 18, 2012
As a kid who grew up in Indiana, I set my yearly calendar mostly around basketball season. What most of you call October, for example, I call “Start of Practice.” While many of you term the third month of the year “March,” for me it goes by the much more descriptive term, “Madness.” I throw in some nods to the football season as well (as a Notre Dame fan, usually August is simply known as “Optimistic” while November is known as the opposite), but beyond that, I’m concerned very little by what’s going on at any given time in a sport other than my favorites.
In the grand scheme of global sports, my preferences are willfully ignorant. Based on fan viewership, soccer’s UEFA Champions League Final has been known to out-draw the NFL’s Super Bowl. The only thing I know about watching soccer is that I have an uncanny ability to turn away at the precise moment a goal is scored. But it clearly has a following that dwarfs any of my personal preferences.
Ignoring the prevalent trend is perfectly fine when all that’s at stake is how to while away a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. But many business people – aided and abetted by marketers, I should point out – are making the same mistake in how they’re promoting their brand. I work with a number of radio sales reps who shake their heads while recounting the number of prospects who don’t want to advertise on the country music station, for example, because they don’t listen to country.
It’s much broader and deeper than musical tastes. According to a recent study, consumers spent about seven percent of their time engaging in print media in 2011, while advertisers spent about a quarter of their dollars there. Meanwhile, the ratio in mobile was more drastic in the opposite direction: while advertisers spent about one percent of their dollars there, consumers spent ten percent of their time on their mobile devices. Internet advertising was also short relative to the time consumers spent online.
One could give advertisers the benefit of the doubt, and say the dollars will eventually follow the eyeballs. Fair enough. But the smart brands are making the shift now, or indeed have already made the shift. Failing to do so is what people in the sports world would call, “taking your eye off the ball.” Do it enough, and eventually you’ll be out of the game. And there’s no euphemism to designate that time of year.
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