Always thinking about revenue generation, our Paul Jacobs chimes in with his thought about how radio can get its sales mojo back.
No, this isn't an RAB pitch. We've been inundated over the years with the same old data about how 250 million Americans listen to the radio every week, how radio reaches 92% of the market, and why the medium is still so viable.
But these are metrics, and metrics aren't always effective at doing what radio needs most - changing perceptions about the medium. The Internet and Google love numbers to demonstrate page views, and allegedly, engagement. But rarely are there stories of success.
That's why a recent article in Advertising Age, highlighting the success three major advertisers have experienced with radio, caught my eye.
There are key lessons here for every:
- National rep, many of whom still rely way too much on metrics/ratings
- DOS, who needs to spend more time thinking strategically, rather than re-forecasting their budgets every two weeks
- GSM, who could profit greatly from this approach versus setting up the next one-day sale
- Sales rep, who needs to put aside the ratings, and start actually solving client problems by developing strategic solutions that drive traffic and generate results.
Here are the lessons behind radio's successes in these three cases:
Verizon wants research. That's right. The second largest local radio advertiser wants to see proof of radio's performance, beyond the typical RAB press release. As their Director of National Retail Advertising states, "Yeah, radio gets X million people to listen, but what are they doing with it? How are they engaging with it?"
Radio can provide these answers because not only does the medium drive traffic, stations have the tools to back it up. Between databases, Listener Advisory Boards, and even traditional focus groups, radio needs to invest in its proof of performance in order to succeed against other media. Digital competitors may be newer and sexier, but they can only rely on metrics as to demonstrate results. Radio needs to go beyond the numbers to tell stories, which can change perceptions about the power of metrics.
Scott's Miracle-Gro wants flexibility. The fertilizer company needed to advertise based on 10-day weather forecasts. That's right, they were looking for a medium that can respond quickly to what's going on outside, because if there's inclement weather, they need to pull off the air. They've been working with Clear Channel, and the strategy has been so effective that they've added $1.5 million to their budget this year.
Campbell's relies on creative. The venerable soup brand is getting a huge return on their radio investment through a creative campaign that targets women, encouraging them to buy the soup for their husbands (while also enticing men to want to eat the soup). The ROI on the campaign has tripled in the past five years.
Radio works, but the medium and its sales management has to work harder, smarter, and differently than in the past. Remotes, one-day sales, two-for ones, and an emphasis on stealing share from a Z98 or The Eagle are the tactics of the past. Smart creative, services that reinforce results, while demonstrating the value of the medium, including great creative, and fabulous radio brands that feature personalities who connect with their listeners, are what it's all about today.