Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Is there a place for your brand on iTunes?

While I usually take the findings of the Center for Media Research with a grain of salt — the vaguely arrogant moniker and the logo that hints at the Parthenon set off alarm bells for me — I will, like most people, cite one of their studies when it matches with my thinking. Humans are funny that way, aren't we? We're usually enamored of anything that seems to validate our own genius.

Anyway, the CMR reports that iTunes usage increased by 241% in December 2004 versus December 2005. To me, iTunes is in a better position than anyone to become the media hub of choice. Smart marketers will be making efforts to carve out their place in it. Traction won't come easy here, especially as more and more content is added, and a long-term commitment is required.

(Of course, Jon Gibs from Neilsen limits his comments to the music component of iTunes. If he thinks that's all that's going on, he needs to get out more. Or maybe he needs to get out less, skip a few of those media luncheons and spend more time online. Whatever the case, he needs to explore the world of vcasts, podcasts and network TV shows on iTunes.)

Unfortunately, much of this brief article is devoted to the iTunes audience demographic. The titans at the — insert heavy-handed theme music here — CENTER FOR MEDIA RESEARCH seem to imply that a presence here is most important for marketers who have products or services that match the brand preferences of iTunes consumers. And, according to this study, iTunes matches up with Volkswagen-driving, BBC America-watching, Wired-reading, hard cider-drinking types.

This is where smart media planners separate themselves from the plodders. The bright folks will realize the current user profile simply reflects early-adopters — although that hard cider thing sort of throws me — and that a good chunk of the rest of the population will soon follow.

To me, the smart media money goes where people are headed instead of where they currently sit. I usually resist hoary sports analogies, but I do think there's one that's appropriate here.

The greatest hockey player of all time, Wayne Gretzky, was a marvel not because of especially dominant skills, but due to his uncanny ability to figure out where the puck was going before anyone else did. In this constantly evolving media world, smart agencies and brand managers need to think the same way about their audience. If you always aim at their current location, you'll miss an opportunity to connect when they find an outlet that's fresh and new.


Anonymous Lisa Williams said...

Dean said: To me, iTunes is in a better position than anyone to become the media hub of choice.

Apple's iTunes reflects two things that endear me to Apple: 1) an inherent elegance and 2) a world of possibilities (aka skating to where the puck will be)

10:34 AM  

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