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Put Your Faith in ‘Field Messages’

Rick Dorey says the industry needs alternatives to broadcast advertising

The author is the owner of Quickshow, a system that takes audio and images to create Shockwave video that is placed automatically in personalized field messaging pages and reformatted for multiple message formats. Here he explains the philosophy behind the concept.

The traditional radio industry is in trouble. Dozens of new advertising products are grabbing customers’ marketing dollars. Radio’s broadcast listeners have many news and music choices. Radio’s customer and client base is moving on to newer, faster, more targeted media.

It’s not all radio’s fault. We continue to provide distinctive broadcast entertainment and advertising messages. But with so many advertising, Internet music, satellite and direct stream sources, plus peer to peer social networks, it’s tough keeping (much less expanding) our entertainment and advertising market share.

Rowdy competitors have grown up around us. Our core broadcast business value has been diminished by loud and disruptive services. To overcome this distraction we must find new business applications.

Simple messages

Our core talent is audio messages. Our core strength is the local business marketplace. Our strategy should be to use our script writing, message telling and local market knowledge to create business value that is not compared against our competitors’ strengths.

Recognizing the pace of today’s business, radio’s new messaging product must be fast and simple and fun to use. It must have a fast implementation, measured in hours from idea to implementation. It must solve important business needs. And it must bring in repeat business opportunities.

This could be a great business solution. But what is it, where is it? How can it be used by every local radio station to expand and compete against rowdy competitors? Let’s examine a customer’s sales department: Every business uses field sales messages. They probably don’t need more broadcast advertising. They do need sales process messages consisting of thank you, followup, specific product benefit stories, bridging conversations between meetings, etc.

What about a customer’s operations or service department? Not a promising advertising opportunity. Most operations departments have special message needs: product training, feature orientation, procedures, etc. They have lots of information and data. They need to make this information relevant. Operations manager will list out what they want.

With each new application discovery, this “new media” radio messaging opportunity becomes bigger. It’s local. It’s high-margin. And it’s under-served.

Each radio station can create its own “new media” signature style. It starts with your radio wheelhouse skills: script writing and on-air personality based audio messages. Then add images and text, with a personal message twist. The twist is that each is presented in a unique environment, with the sender’s personal image, logo, contact information and individual show play tracking. The style is the show color and, of course, the audio message.

Can a radio sales executive use this “new media” to place more radio advertising packages? Yes. Every radio sales executive already creates his or her own field sales messages. They introduce the station’s advertising story, explain unique benefits, set up business questions that can be answered during an appointment. Their most used tool is phone calls and text email.

With “new media,” each message becomes a personal message. Every team member has access to the best stories to open doors, get appointments and have their message shared inside a client’s organization.

After your customer sees and hears your “new media” radio advertising message, traditional sales techniques become more effective. If they have not seen the show, restart the contact process. After seeing the show, your customer will be pre-qualified for a traditional radio sales meeting.

After your personalized “new media” message, the next step is for them to describe their sales and operations problems. You should take notes.

Question: Should you offer a new product? After all, a field message is different. It’s not classic broadcast radio.

Here’s the answer: If you don’t want to provide unique, high-value business message solutions, in non-radio format, someone else will. Then, what will you do?

Reach the author at [email protected].