Standing the test of time

I recently heard an interview that pondered the future of radio with the advent of the internet. The internet was named as the major game changer of traditional modes of communication years ago starting with print media. It certainly has and continues to impact the print industry especially in the field of daily news but, B2B media such as our magazine have fared well through this internet maturation process. In fact just a few weeks ago I read a story about three internet publications that have recently launched hard copy magazines to support their industries. I believe this signifies yet again that consumers/readers still like to sit back, relax and open a magazine versus looking at a computer screen. Radio, so the program concluded, is still very much alive and well at this point however, encroaching and gaining footholds are podcasts (A podcast is a pre-recorded audio program that’s posted to a website and is made available for download so people can listen to them on personal computers or mobile devices). They are also low cost, absent of annoying advertising messages and very subject specific. Stay tuned for more on that, no pun intended.

It was surprising and somewhat curious to me then, that the Canadian Angus Association has decided to go digital with their communications. In a release it said, they have severed their relationship of some 20 years with the Aberdeen Angus World Magazine as the official publication for the breed. They are, according to the release, changing their communications model away from traditional methods (print) to more digital form, social media. I would presume this applies to print magazine advertising also. Did someone say progressive? Certainly it’s a bold step forward in the field of communicating with producers/members.

There is strategy in the advertising/ marketing field called, the media mix. It essentially ensures that to maximize the “media message”, it be channeled into various and yes, traditional media – print, radio and television. Today there is the addition of internet and popular social media sites. The point is, to put all your eggs in one basket doesn’t net the best results, in most cases. That’s because no medium has the whole target market reading, watching, listening or using social media at any given time.

The curiousity I found in this story regarding the Canadian Angus decision, stems from the results of our last independent producer readership survey (two years ago). With an accuracy rate of 2.5% 19 out of 20 times, amongst the many questions asked, we did include questions on the subject of internet usage. For instance, 80% responded they were NOT interested in receiving Alberta Beef Magazine digitally.11% still had dial up and a surprising 17%  DID NOT even have internet access. Not everyone, everywhere is plugged into the world wide web. However, getting the big story is best achieved using traditional media such as print, but then I am bias.

This change of direction by the association again is progressive and yet it holds an element of risk. Just simply not having a presence with other breed advertising in itself can weaken top of mind awareness. There’s no question Angus have a sizeable market share  today, which does give them a leg up to experiment, so to speak. However, will that cache dwindle going forward when other breeds chip away at market share using traditional media? We all know that breed loyality changes from year to year and I would add going forward with a declining producer (attrition) population brings about an even more competative environment for market share.

The Angus Association is certainly not alone in utilizing internet and social media as witnessed with many other association web sites, webinars, tweets, facebook pages to name a few. Maybe one day it will be the preferred choice of many but, I feel print and radio will be here for a long time to come. It’s tangible and a medium that’s stood the test of time.   

Until next month.

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