The VPM Blog

Who's Next to Fail?

Posted by Don Crow on Feb 22, 2012 3:30:41 AM

I haven’t done this type of post in a long time. So long, I can’t find the first two in what was going to be a monthly series which means it has been since the very early days of Verge Pipe Media when we were nothing more than a blog + me + a much bigger idea.


In those early days, my blogging attention was focused on the rapidly shifting world of B2B sales and marketing along with the decline in consumer attention for traditional media. No, I was not some new age prophet - others had staked the claim previously - I was merely putting my thoughts towards where things were going. That, and I thought more importantly at the time, what brands could do to adapt. Some of you listened. Most of you did not.

We see it daily at VPM when we meet with prospective clients. Leadership [painfully acknowledging they are largely fellow Gen Xer’s] is waffling on what to do next with shrinking ad budgets and declining marketing campaign results. Leaders are urged to join the ranks of Social Media saviors and re-connect to consumers or buyers with steps as simple as posting a free facebook page.

It didn’t work out the way some ninja, guru, expert or consultant promised and the leadership team retreated into a money pit of print, email, trade show and broadcast purgatory.

In Darwin’s terms, they’re now making room for a new wave of innovators.

So what industry or segment is next to fail?

Satellite Radio ladies and gentlemen and you heard it here first. Book it. Write it. Just don’t sue me when it comes true.

Why so?

Well, the car industry is hurting. One could even say they are near desperate. Don’t believe all the good news about Chrysler and GM returning to profitability. They may be by a Mississippi River accountant’s standard, but look at what said companies chopped off and hacked away to get there.

Something the car industry is taking note of is how connected individuals are now. Whether it is by mobile device, OnStar, GPS or WiFi, they see enough to know the future is in making cars smarter and an extension of the things consumers are buying: more connected devices.

So, onboard hard drives get bigger, more USB ports get added and even Google is looking to move into your backseat. Throw in built-in car WiFi shipments over 7 million within a few years, and why on earth do you need satellite radio?

You have WiFi, you have Google, you have ways to plug your iPhone, iPad and eventually every other phone or device out there - which also stores music don’t forget - and tell me how an industry charging monthly or annual subscriptions stays relevant?

Heck, Toyota is even building a future where the automobile is a super-smartphone in itself.

Which all begs the question....why on earth do you need satellite radio?

You don’t. If you have it [FULL DISCLOSURE: My wife does, and loves exactly 4 channels] you know there is some value there. You have your stations, you have your on-air shows, you listen on your commute or when you are able. You may even take to facebook or twitter to brag about it, but more than likely, you don’t.

Exhibit L: the most “Liked” Sirius XM Radio page on facebook has about 7k fans (Comedy Channel). The official Twitter account has just over 16k followers. Both respectable, but hardly staggering considering the content they produce, years in service and the fact that they are a nationwide service.

A quick scan of their posts reveals, and again this is topline only, they use their SoMe channels to broadcast to their existing customers (no pun intended).

Here’s another sign they are next to fail. You don’t use SoMe to broadcast. Scratch that, you can, but if you do, you see declining engagement, more “rant” type posts and general apathy towards your brand. Blah....

Before I sign off - lessons learned I'm sharing for the cost of your time spent reading:

  1. Pay attention to what’s happening in your alliances. Know what that could and could not do for your own product. Develop a Plan B - Z. For satellite radio it is the shift in what car manufacturers’ are putting in their products.
  2. Don’t broadcast on Social Media. If you’re going to talk to your current customers it better be after you’ve listened first. If you’re not using Social Media to attract and engage NEW customers, well, um, be prepared to be next to fail.

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