The Race

Which are you running?

Earlier this year, Seth Godin wrote about the opportunites created as the world, certainly the United States and developed world, moves from the Industrial Age to what he calls the Connection Economy.

The Industrial Age was built upon, and fueled by, scarcity. The Connection Economy is built on knowledge and an abundance of choices.

This abundance of choice has created two distinct races. The race to the bottom is the internet-based challenge to cut prices, find cheaper labor, and squeeze every penny possible so you can sell it cheaper next year than this year.

The other race is the race to the top: the opportunity to be the one they can’t live without,” to be missed when you’re not there. This race is about delivering more for more. Think Starbucks, Apple, Infiniti…

Seth believes that what matters now, whether you are a consolidated radio company or an independent contractor is:

  • Trust: a deep understanding of what you do and why and a promise to respect their time and privacy.
  • Permission: to broaden a relationship, to offer introductions based upon them pulling rather than us pushing.
  • Remarkability: providing a product so unique to your market, each time it is used, that everyone notices.
  • Leadership: “…and I? I took the road less travelled by and that has made all the difference…” Lead, and give us a reason to follow.
  • Stories that spread: what is your station’s story? What is its emotional payoff? Provide that and it will spread.
  • Humanity: connection, compassion, and humility: are you responsive to the least among you? Not just once or twice a year, but every day. Stand for something in your community!

Clearly, because of massive debt, the largest consolidated radio groups are stuck running a race to the bottom, finding ways to operate ever more cheaply next year than this.

Time will prove they are on the wrong side of history in our particular field, and no amount of accretion of other badly run companies will be able to hide that fact, though it improves the balance sheet for a while.

If you’re in a group not drowning in debt, you don’t have to be in that race to the bottom.

The sooner you recognize that and act upon that conviction, the sooner you will be racing to the top, to providing more for more. I know it can be done because I work for groups that are doing it.

I hope you have the choice, and if you do, I hope you understand what is happening while there’s still time to act, to head in the opposite direction of the largest groups in our industry.