I’m practicing a small act of rebellion. No marches or protest signs (or ugly posts on Facebook), but rebellion none-the-less.
I have stopped using my Amazon Prime number at Whole Foods. I’ve decided I don’t want Jeff Bezos to know anything more about me. (This may be a futile rebellion. Paula and I had so many Amazon deliveries before the Holidays that I thought we might win the Amazon Household of the Year award, so Jeff’s people already know a whole lot about me.)
My rebellion started after reading Ken Auletta’s thought-provoking book, Frenemies. If you’re a leader in our business, Frenemies is a must-read book.
There are lots of insights I sort of knew about in Frenemies, but the biggest surprise for me was how big Amazon is becoming as an advertising medium. Yes… Amazon. It’s much more than just an online retailer. It’s now the fastest growing advertising media company in America.
Want some numbers that might scare you? $2 Billion-plus in advertising, just in Q2 last year. It’s growing 130-150% per year, and is projected by analysts to be a $21 Billion business by 2021, likely bigger than AWS, Amazon’s cloud business. When you consider that the entire local TV station business was estimated at $27B in 2018, you can see the scope of what Amazon is building. I’m embarrassed that I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t know that.
We already know how much Google and Facebook get from advertising. But Amazon is scarier in many ways. Think about it for a second. Google and Facebook know a lot about you. They probably know where you live, what you search for, and a whole lot more. Amazon knows all of that, too, but they also know what you buy, when you buy it, and even who you buy it for. And, with the addition of Whole Foods, the amount of info they can capture on consumers is huge. Talk about targeting your message to the right audience. How powerful would it be to a dairy if Amazon could share with them how often I bought low fat cottage cheese or milk. Talk about advertising with no waste. That’s what’s going on now.
But it’s even more than that. I have a friend who has a BBQ joint in Florida. He developed a stevia-sweetened BBQ sauce that’s really good. For much of last year, he was spending $500 per month to promote this on Amazon and getting a strong ROI. I was sharing what he was doing with a digitally brilliant friend who told me, “He should watch out. If he makes his product successful, Amazon will likely take that info to brands that could spend a whole lot more.” So, when I just checked Amazon today for stevia BBQ sauce, my friend’s brand is nowhere to be found. But there are some big brands in that space now.
Data is the new currency of the realm, and Amazon, Google, and Facebook have so much data on us it’s scary.
So, what does that mean for us? I believe that every media company will need to partner with someone who will provide us attribution right down to the last click. It’s no longer going to be enough for us to simply say, “TV will increase your web traffic.” Even looking at Google analytics data, which we use to prove TV’s impact to a ton of car dealers, won’t be enough. Not in the new data era. We’re going to need to provide more specific information that tracks what a viewer does after they see an ad on one of our platforms. These tools exist. The best ones I’ve seen will actually track that lead right into sales results. These tools give us the ability to work with a client to create real ROI.
I’ve looked at a bunch of attribution tools. And I’m excited to tell you… attribution makes us look GREAT. Our impact is real… it’s measurable… and it’s significant. It will help us demonstrate the power of our products to both clients and prospects.
So far, it looks like the radio industry is beating us in adding attribution tools for clients. One senior radio exec told me, “That’s probably because we’re hurting more.” But it’s true. One major radio group offers this as a tool to test copy for specific spends. Several others are deploying it company-wide. As an industry, TV (so far) is lagging behind. We’re spending a lot of senior leader time working consolidation and doing deals. But this is something we need to add to our sales arsenal, and my sense is that the sooner we do it the better off our business is going to be.
There’s so much competition today. Tons we know about, and a few things, like Amazon, that we may not even understand. This competition is more intense on the national level, but make no mistake–Facebook and Google have bigger local advertising bases even beyond Google’s search business. And Amazon will be a local force as well. Data gives them a compelling sales story, one that we’ll need to counter if we want to stop the erosion of our local business.
Have a GSM or GM meeting in your future? Why not have Jim Doyle or John Hannon speak to your meeting about how to turn your sales staff into a Sales FORCE? We promise powerful, thought-provoking content customized to your company’s needs. Contact Jim Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 941-926-SELL.