Ask a Journalist: Ellie Behling, WestwoodOne
‘Ask a Journalist’ is a weekly column where we turn the tables on journalists, asking them their opinions on cross-channel marketing based on their unique vantage points covering the online marketing ecosystem.
Today we’re reaching out to Ellie Behling, Communications Manager, WestwoodOne, a provider of cross-platform audio content to more than 9,100 media partners and 225 million consumers each week. She also blogs about marketing and digital trends on her Y-rd blog. Before moving to a marketing role, Ellie was a senior writer at eMedia Vitals where she reported and wrote news stories, analysis and features about the digital media industry.
Cross-Channel Marketing Matters: What role does audio have in the future of cross-channel marketing?
Let me start by saying that audio consumption is on the rise. According to the most recent radio research, traditional radio’s reach is increasing year-over-year.
I’m going to use a buzzword from a few years ago: audio is platform-agnostic. It’s conducive to any device which makes audio so well-suited for cross-channel marketing.
From traditional radio, to Pandora and Spotify, people will always want something in their ears. And audio is so important to cross-channel marketing because as I go through my day, from my home to the car/walking to the office, I listen to audio everywhere I go and it’s easy to be exposed to a branded message. Audio messaging is even more powerful than some other brain messages because your brain is working to visualize the message you hear.
From podcasts of your favorite radio personalities to apps that let users create their own playlists, audio is more empowering and certainly more engaging now than ever before, and I only see this evolving further.
Cross-Channel Marketing Matters: What’s your favorite device, platform or vehicle for entertainment? For getting news?
Mobile is my preferred platform but I think the experience could be a lot better.
But ultimately, it’s the content. I don’t care that much about the platform because I like to be able to switch among digital devices – I want to watch Netflix on my laptop while checking email on my iPad and vice versa – and have the same experience work across all devices.
Cross-Channel Marketing Matters: People are ‘Shazaming ads’. What other audio-driven trends do you see in marketing?
Here are a few trends I’m seeing:
- Audio is everywhere. Even in TV commercials – once you pay attention to the audio, you realize that half the time the ad’s creative is about the audio. You’ll see beautiful images but it’s the audio that sets the tone and mood.
- At WestwoodOne, we work with the audio recognition app SoundHound to offer contests and exclusive content during audio broadcasts. This has given listeners an opportunity to engage with traditional radio they already love in new ways.
- Another big trend is that brands want to be tied to music and bands (which goes along with the even bigger trend of brands wanting to be tied to content). Brands want to be associated with music that represents a certain lifestyle. Today you’re seeing brands sponsor audio content in a more integrated way, making it ‘their content’.
- And audio is the most mobile among the various ways brands can reach out and engage with their user base.
Cross-Channel Marketing Matters: Can you give me an example of a cross-channel marketing campaign that you’ve seen which was successful?
Seamless, an online food ordering service popular here in New York, is such a good example of successful cross-channel marketing. I know it’s cheesy but their marketing is just so ‘seamless’. I can expect a good experience from the website and app, whether I’m on the phone, iPad or website. For me, a user-friendly, cross-device product experience is the best marketing. And they have the right mix of online and offline advertising – from online coupons to clever subway ads.
Brands that aren’t making their marketing message and product useful and easy to use across all devices are the ones missing the opportunities.
Cross-Channel Marketing Matters: 2014 will be the year of ______ (fill in the blank).
I’m going to be cliché and say that 2014 will be the year of the consumer. At the end of the day, brands and platforms with the best user experiences — utilizing multiple media well across any device — are going to win. So it’s up to us to choose.
Cross-Channel Marketing Matters: Thanks for your time and effort, Ellie.
Stay tuned for next week’s Ask a Journalist interview with iMedia Connection Executive Editor Lori Luechtefeld.