From The Editor | August 28, 2017

What TV Networks Understand That Marketers Should


By Travis Kennedy

What TV Networks Understand That Marketers Should

What’s the time? Is it lunchtime yet? I don’t have the time to get all of this accomplished? I can find the time. Is it that time already?

How many times a day do you think about time? In a world where everything is becoming more and more about immediate gratification, you would think that we would be finding more time to pay attention to other things. Unfortunately, we aren’t utilizing that time to consider things more carefully or build deeper connections, either by voice or in person, with those who request some of our time. In fact, people are becoming ever more protective of their time. Our “scroll time,” “screen time,” and “social media time” have become our top priority and we defend it with an amazing amount of habitual vigor.

So what does this mean for marketing and brand pubishing?  For those who read my book, I stated two years ago that time has replaced money as the most important currency in the business world.  Professionals actually care more about their time (and not wasting it) than they do about actual dollars and cents.  The sooner we all realize what a gift someone’s time truly is, the more effective a marketing campaign will actually be.

This may surprise some of you but even TV networks have got the message.  One of the indications I recently witnessed was when I took 30 minutes out of my Saturday evening to watch NBC Nightly News..  The approach to the show and the coverage wasn’t any different than a typical weekend news bulletin.  But what was different was the sign-off.  In the final seconds of the broadcast, anchor José Díaz-Balart looked straight into the camera and simply said, “Good night everyone and thank you for the privilege of your time.”  WOW!  I immediately thought, “he gets it.” I could have spent these past 30 minutes doing something else but instead I gave him my time. It was my gift.

Think of the sign-offs from some of our most beloved news anchors from the past 50 years:

“And that’s the way it is.” CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite

“We’re in touch, so you be in touch.” 20/20 anchor Hugh Downs

“That’s the nightly news for this Wednesday night” NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokow

“And that’s a part of our world.” CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather

None of them were tasked with connecting to an audience that was suspended in a vortex of attention-grabbing sensationalism.  Today, I’m not sure their sign-off would work well if they were trying to gain an audience.  The “Here’s the news, your welcome” sign -off may have worked 30 years ago in 1987 but does not resonate in today’s world.

Just as something as simple as a newscast sign-off can become antiquated, so can one’s approach to market.  What worked in 1987 doesn’t stand much of a chance today.  Use the knowledge that people love their time more than anything and approach appropriately.  Make it about them and they will give you their time. Let them know you appreciate their time and they’ll give you more of it.

Image credit: "Top Guns!," Carl Lender, 2013, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: