A friend of mine is a morning deejay for a popular radio show in Salt Lake City – or at least he was until a couple of weeks ago. His program targeted hip, twenty and thirty something’s with offbeat humor that poked fun at the craziness of Utah’s culture and politics. And since he is also an actor, the program offered a sprinkle of Hollywood gossip and local film insight. The format seemed to work well for years, launching my friend into the ranks of local celebrity. With only weeks off the airwaves, the celebrity he was so fond of, is nothing more than a collection of distant, fat-cat memories.
The fall of radio and the local celebrity deejay is more widespread than you think. Consumers have become terribly finicky – demanding to hear what they want, and when they want it. Unfortunately for radio, it hasn’t been able to keep up. Many stations have dumped programming in favor of automated-deejay, genre-specific, uninterrupted, never-ending play lists – and rightly so. How else can an industry of single dimension find an audience?
So, what can we learn from radio? Three critical things come to mind:
1- Thoroughly know your market.
2- Understand the undercurrents creating market change.
3- Make market-driven innovation a priority in your business.
Don’t confuse market with industry. Market denotes a focus on the places, processes, systems and social influences that forms a buying economy. An industry is a loose definition or category of buyers and sellers around general needs and interests. It is the what, when, where, how and why of the market that should define your business strategies.
I’ve seen many businesses focus so heavily upon industry that they lose sight of the market. Don’t let the industry boundaries obstruct your market perspective. Look and think beyond them. A behavioral change in an industry with similar pressures can work as an early warning system for yours.
Innovate. Innovate. Innovate. I spent years working for a company who, in essence, invented the Internet. Yes, none other than Novell. They invented the protocol that enabled computer to computer and computer to printer communications. Their focus was so self-centered and industry oriented, they lost track of the market. A company that enjoyed a Trillion dollar revenue ecosystem is now up for sale, and with no interested buyers.
There certainly is a lot to learn from Radio. I’m not sure where my deejay friend will end up. He loved what celebrity our small city saw fit to bestow, but all good things eventually come to an end – especially if you don’t keep these three simple thoughts in the forefront of your business strategy.