The times they are a-changin'.
Oh, yes they are. Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed some things that have caused me to stop and think about how our viewing and media consumption habits have changed.
- A local cable provider recently tried selling a home bundle to me that included HD TV channels. Personally, I couldn’t think of a show that I couldn’t just search online for, so I passed on the cable, and signed up only for the WIFI.
- I recently heard a radio newscaster report a year over year 5 to 10% decline in traditional TV ad sales because of the shift to digital.
- Last month, television network ABC was broadcasting coverage of the NBA finals, sponsored by YouTube TV – which ironically used its air time to promote cable-free live TV. This re-affirmed to me that television no longer has the monopoly it once had.
This shouldn’t be a surprise though. The impact of the internet has long been foreshadowed, but now more than ever we’re seeing the change happen. This shift should signal to associations that it’s time to review ‘the way you’ve always done it”.
The inner workings of an association can be complex, so let’s just focus on your communications strategy to keep it simple. Many associations are still leading with their magazines. This is not necessarily a bad thing. When magazines first came out, they were game changers. They deepened the relationships between associations and their members.
Video Content is Now the Game Changer
But as mentioned above, the times they are a-changin'. In case you haven’t experienced it for yourself, online video programming can be a powerful tool to engage with your audience.
And by programming, I’m not referring to the single video that the marketing department had done prior to your annual event this year. I’m referring to an entire content program, similar to the one you’re doing right now with your magazine – except in video format.
Allow me to offer myself as the guinea pig. I’m a 33 year old professional and I likely fit the age description of your new, young member. If you asked me about my media consumption habits, I would say:
- I skim magazines and newsletters, but I am more likely to pay attention to a video.
- I like video because it solves the pain of having to read (after all, Millennials are impatient, right?).
- Video is portable, and it works well on my cell phone which is basically an extension of my body, so I can view it conveniently, anytime, anywhere.
- Lastly, social media has programmed me to respond to visual content with a ‘follow’ or ‘subscribe’ – assuming the content is not something I can get anywhere else. Once I get a sample of your unique content offering, I assume I will want more of it!
Number 4 is something associations can really learn from. Your industry education needs to be something that professionals can't get from any other place. If you’re not releasing such content in a predictable and programmatic way, then you’re not giving your prospective millennial members much to follow or subscribe to. Think of ‘follows’ or ‘subscribes’ as a new, preliminary form of joining – or a pre-cursor to becoming a member of your association.
If your association is a late adopter, that’s okay. The good news is Association TV® can help. Ask us for a demo and we’d welcome the chance to help you build an online video program of your own, and if you wanted to, we can even show you how to have it self-funding.
So I encourage you to make meaningful change at your association. Because as Bob Dylan once wrote, “If your time to you is worth saving… Then you better start swimmin' or you’ll sink like a stone.”
Randell Mauricio is Chief Operating Officer for WorkerBee.TV