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Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.

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August 2011

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David Martin

Kudos, Fred. Well reasoned and well said. Thanks for again bringing up this important subject.

My sense is small businesses are preoccupied with the weak consumer demand. As John Bussey writes in Friday's Wall Street Journal, in some cases "their sales are so weak they can't justify taking on debt to expand operations."

Radio has the opportunity to innovate, to put imagination and creativity to work and help spark demand for local businesses. You're spot-on about what retailers want, it's measurable results, traffic and register rings.

Perhaps the biggest upside for radio today is to re-imagine the client experience and pull away from the growing herd of media sellers. Your earlier thoughts on CX set the stage. What if radio sales people became known as developers of solution sets for small businesses?

In these times of profound and dramatic change Lincoln's second annual address to Congress comes to mind...

"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country."

We can do this but it will take breaking from the past, thinking and acting anew.

Fred

Dave, thanks so much for the perspective. I continue to see sales departments struggle as they call on a dwindling number of "usual suspects." Meanwhile, hundreds - if not thousands - of local businesses need marketing programs that lead to solutions. When we only had :30s and :60s, it was in fact a matter of client affordability and supply of inventory. Today, digital tool kits provide more avails, more avenues, and more channels to help small businesses succeed. But these sales aren't transactional and a "a good book" isn't going to produce results. As you note, it requires creativity and solution development - something that is all too lacking in the cubicles. Thanks again for contributing.

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