Five Mistakes Marketers are Making

“Listen to the lyrics.”

That was the advice Ryan Seacrest not-so-jokingly gave the audience at an Advertising Week panel with iHeartMedia Exec VP-Chief Marketing Officer Gayle Troberman called “Sound Marketing: Why Millennials and Generation Z Are Listening More.”

The radio and TV personality (“I’m a personality?” he said. “I’m just a short white man”) and his interviewer, predictably, were big boosters of radio as a means to reach millennials and Gen Z. But between the sales pitch were some good tips on both music marketing and integrations with artists that were offered by Mr. Seacrest, who works with many brands both on air and off. Here are five.

Don’t be a slave to the brief
All too often, he said, on-air talent is given a very strict brief or script. “But if we have freedom we can create a better message,” he said. Mr. Seacrest cited Yahoo, which gave him a button that yodels its name and license to hit it and give away $2,000 to callers each time. This was hugely popular “until five days in when they told me to stop it” because he was giving away too much cash. He also advises not to wait until an agenda is set, but bring talent to the table “sooner rather, than later so we can talk about it.”

Don’t dumb down the message
iHeart’s research finds that 30% of millennials have college degrees and are highly educated, but Mr. Seacrest said that “sometimes we dumb down the message to them.”

Don’t be afraid to go long
Ms. Troberman said that the marketing industry is “not always known for our restraint” and that as marketers churn out more and more content they are making it shorter, going from 60-second ads to ephemeral snaps. “Think about how you tell a story, it might be in longer form,” she said, citing the poplarity of podcasts like “Serial.”

Create culture, don’t chase it
Mr. Seacrest said that he had been talking to a nameless wireless company CMO who told him its strategy was to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for its customers such as private concerts and access to talent. That, he said, helps create culture rather than follow it.

Stay on top of trends
At the close of the presentation, the duo took questions, or as Mr. Seacrest called it, “We’ll take callers now.” One query was how does Mr. Seacrest stay on top of trends? “I try to get bored before everyone else,” he said. “That keeps me thinking ahead.”

This article originally was posted on Advertising Age on September 29, 2015. 

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