Businesses in Winnipeg and across Canada continue to move dollars away from traditional media and into the internet as is evidence with Corus Entertainment announcing a third quarter net loss of $145 million. In Winnipeg, Corus owns stations CJOB 68, 99.1 Groove FM and Power 97 FM. The loss was directly related to both the slumping economy and the growing shift in dollars from radio advertising to the internet.
This, and the other countless examples from the thinning Free Press to the fall of CanWest, should have Winnipeg business owners asking themselves: Where am I putting my limited dollars for advertising?
You'd think common sense would come into play when considering this question. With all the press out each week on the struggles felt by traditional media, you need to start taking more time considering if a quarter page ad in the Sun is the best use of your money?
I'm amazed at the number of companies in Winnipeg that still don't have a budget for online marketing. Many have locked themselves into stale Yellow Page campaigns or blown whole budgets doing trade shows. Yet, if I ask them how they look for goods and services many tell me they mainly search online. Those that still use phone books are usually those that worry if they click too many buttons on the computer it will blow up. These owners need to fight through the fear of the unknown and use the smarts that made them leaders in business to recognize that, even if they don't understand computers and the internet, that it is not a fad and that it can help their business.
Over the weekend I was at an anniversary for my Aunt and Uncle and ran into a radio personality who works for 99.1 Groove FM. We began discussing the advertising climate in Winnipeg and she was openly scared for her job. She reported that many people have been laid off or have quit seeing that the future in radio is a complete toss up. She actually had to come off maternity leave early just because of her fear that there may not be a job to come back to if she was away too long.
Personally I don't see the end of radio or newspapers anytime soon; however the playing field has definitely changed. Have you?