Marketron, which provides business software solutions and services for the media industry, recently named Deborah Esayian chief revenue officer, adding to her duties as co-president of Marketron Interactive. She will thus oversee the sales and business development operations of all three of Marketron’s product lines including radio traffic, mobile and interactive. She has19 years of experience in advertising, media and software technology; she founded Next Generation Radio, a new business development enterprise, and has managed radio stations and sales teams.
As part of a series of interviews for our sister website Connect 2 Media & Entertainment, I asked Esayian about trends in the business. (Visit the site for lots more interesting content; find it at c2meworld.com.)
McLane: What is the single biggest challenge facing U.S. radio commercial companies right now?
Esayian: Balancing the need to invest in the future with the financial challenges of today’s environment.
McLane: You’ve been named chief revenue officer of Marketron. How does this change your current responsibilities; and why is this change important?
Esayian: For close to a year we’ve been working to consolidate our efforts across all three of our product lines — Traffic, Interactive and Mobile. This change allows us to carry the ball further down the field in working as one team to holistically address the needs of our clients.
This is important because our clients have limited time and resources — our products and services drive efficiencies, productivity and revenue — all for a great value. The more our customers work with all of our software applications, the more efficient and lucrative their operations become.
McLane: How has Marketron’s corporate culture and approach to business changed since Jeff Haley started as CEO a year and a half ago?
Esayian: Jeff has a client-focused style in which he fosters partnership and creative solutions. He is a terrific relationship builder and has set the tone that nothing is unachievable or impossible.
McLane: Mobile is part of your purview, and Marketron has put a lot of emphasis on that in recent years. Assess how well the industry has integrated mobile into its business strategy.
Esayian: We’re seeing greater and greater interest in mobile as the consumption on mobile devices continues to skyrocket. Stations want the capability to stream, podcast, offer apps to their audiences and present content and experiences on mobile devices. Marketron Mobile has launched two products — mSite, our mobile website software that empowers stations to make and create mobile sites for clients, and Scratch and Win, our mobile gaming solution, which offers broadcasters a sophisticated advertising solution for their clients.
McLane: You also have held the title co-president of Marketron Interactive. The digital arena is one piece of the commercial revenue picture that has shown consistent growth, on a percentage basis; yet it remains a small part of our industry’s revenue pie. How can radio grow the digital piece more dramatically?
Esayian: I remember when industry executives would say to me “I can’t focus on digital — it’s only 3 percent of my revenue.” As the years passed, the 3 percent became 5 percent, then 7 percent and now is 10–15 percent at many companies.
I’ve worked with hundreds of stations helping them develop their digital businesses, and the one consistent driver of success has been having an internal change agent leading the charge and marketing the opportunities internally as well as externally. Companies must give their internal change agent an environment in which to succeed, which means they must incent the desired behavior change across all personnel, not just sales, and provide the resources they need to succeed — good technology, training and management support. There is an investment required — but with a sound revenue generating plan, that investment should pay out within 12–18 months.
Given that we’re experiencing a monumental sea change in our industry, it’s imperative that all broadcasters put a serious focus on digital.
McLane: How is the radio industry doing at providing ad verification and accountability?
Esayian: I believe the industry has always shown extraordinary accountability to the advertising community. Today, the software exists to provide even more transparency. Our Proof of Performance service, for example, provides scheduled, aired, posted and invoiced spot information that can be emailed to advertisers and agencies on demand or on a pre-determined schedule.
McLane: What is the “Marketron Triple Play”?
Esayian: Customers who use products from all three of our Marketron product lines — traffic, interactive and mobile — will enjoy loyalty discounts and holistic customer service.
McLane: Anything else we should know about Marketron’s current direction and offerings?
Esayian: I think you will see more and more integration of our product lines over time. The benefit will be sharper, consolidated and more actionable data about customers and listeners coming from an affordable, customizable, easy-to-manage software system everyone at a station will use.