In a recent monitor of 15 stations in a major market, a friend of mine claimed that there were fewer than 50 unique advertisers broadcasting their messages on those stations.
I suppose that with all the bad economic news, this shouldn't really have been a shock to me. Yes, I knew business was off severely, but I had wrongly assumed that advertisers were cutting back by percentages and not just coming off the air entirely.
After he glumly shared this fact, we began to discuss what, if anything, broadcasters could do to convince companies to come back to the air and how in a general sense, we can help improve the overall economic picture.
Of course radio doesn't have a magic wand to jump-start the economy, but we have enough juice to play a small part in generating positive thinking among the general public.
Our news and talk stations must make a concerted effort to report good news and success stories to temper the constant stream of negativity.
Radio's other obligation is to provide greater value to our advertisers. This means making certain that clients get a return on their investment, which requires greater diligence on the part of radio station senior management.
That attentiveness begins with ascertaining properly what a client is attempting to accomplish with their advertising investment.
- • Do they want to drive in-store business that week?
- • How many people do they need to get in the door to agree that the campaign was a success?
- • Is this the only media running, or does this complement a print, television, transit or Web schedule?
- • Is the creative the same for every medium?
- • Is the creative easy to understand and have enough of an incentive in it to drive the required traffic to purchase the product?
- • Have they invested enough money to hit the reach and frequency they need to drive action?
Note that these questions are valid in any market size.
Here are a few other ideas for you to consider in terms of offering your clients added value.
As much as possible, integrate advertisers into your on-air and online content during their flight.
While this promotional territory typically has been the domain of those few who know how to apply the right pressure, management must see to it that even clients who don't ask should receive consideration in situations where the match is a natural.
Say you have a shoe store advertising for a few weeks and the station is running announcements for an upcoming 10K race.
Would it be possible for runners to get 25 percent off shoes by bringing in their bib number after the race? Could you tag your PSAs with this promotion and would the race permit you to put a flyer in the packet that the runners pick up? Perhaps you could run banner ads that week at little or no cost to the client to further drive this promotion.
Consider integrating clients into news coverage when it make it sense.
This is one you don't want to force when there is no real story, but often we overlook potential stories about unique services or products.
Could you air a story about the opening of a new restaurant? You bet. Is there an incredibly innovative smart phone that's just come out the local phone store? You could interview a customer who bought one, or a geek in the store marveling over its features.
Talent testimonials often are under-utilized to sell products and services; sometimes this has occurred because on-air talent wants a huge sum of dough to participate.
In times like these, it would be wise for talent to reconsider the fees they charge for providing such a service. It's certainly legit for a talent not to want to endorse a product because they don't want the association. For example, a talent might not want anything to do with a certain restaurant because of a bad experience there. On the other hand, if they love the restaurant, maybe they'd be happy with a few hundred dollars' worth of trade for meals in lieu of a fee.
Text messaging can offer your clients a lot and most don't even know it. If you're not utilizing texting for promotional purposes, you are truly behind the times. There are even a few companies who will work with you on a shared-revenue basis.
Use text messages to kick back electronic coupons, to send reminders about savings on a product or to send back a phone number that they can call in the next 10 minutes to a get a deal on something like a trip somewhere.
For several decades radio has had the luxury of taking clients for granted. Wake up and smell the economy. Account executives now need to earn the second half of their title by working harder than ever.
The author is president of Lapidus Media. Contact him firstname.lastname@example.org. Promo Power articles are archived under Columns atradioworld.com.