A date in B2B Marketing history… March 2005

“A digital revolution is quietly taking place on the airwaves”

Six years ago when digital radio was the new ‘in’ piece of technology – B2B marketers were asked to sit up and pay attention to this exciting new digital marketing channel.
Sometimes a new gadget or gizmo is launched that creates ripples among trend setters, consumers and the business world alike. You only have to look at smartphones and the rise in augmented reality to see how quickly industry hype is generated and justified. But this isn’t the case for all so-called digital revolutions. The introduction of digital radio about six years ago was a fairly significant development in communication and entertainment. Indeed when it was covered in B2B Marketing (March ’05 issue), some marketers believed that “scrolling text, digital radio chips in mobile phone handsets, electronic programme guides [and] data broadcasting” – all attributes of digital radio – would revolutionise the way radio was used in the B2B sphere.

While some of the benefits of digital radio in B2B remain valid, for example advertising to SMEs, the digital radio in 2011 is hardly a must-have addition to the business person or marketer’s armory in the same way we rely on our trusted iPhones.
Yes digital radio is cool – indeed many of us will have one in the home or listen to digital broadcasts on our PCs as we attempt to zone out of office humdrum. But did it cause a revolution in B2B marketing? Alas not. Despite the ‘digital’ tag – it is still radio, and it will only ever be effective as a marketing channel to a relatively small B2B audience.