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(MARKETING) Does Your Stations Marketing Suck?


(Part 1 of a three-part series)

Radio marketers need to re-examine familiar methodologies and question long-held assumptions in order to deliver results.

There are two customer bases that all commercial radio stations serve:  listeners and advertisers. A station may do a phenomenal job addressing the needs of the latter, but if it doesnt also do a superior job attracting the former, the station wont survive as a business entity.

In theory, its up to a stations marketing team to lure and build their audience of listeners/customers in order for the sales pros to monetize them. Problem is, most stations are relying on a familiar set of marketing tactics that are obsolete, misguided, or ineffective in a PPM world.

With that in mind, it would be helpful to take a look at five questions, the answers to which could indicate that your stations marketing might kind of, you know, SUCK:

1. Is there a Web content strategy in place?

Station websites arent just an extension of your brand, theyre also an extension of your business.According to a 2011 survey by BIA/Kelsey, online revenue will increase by 15.1 percent in 2012, while on-air revenue will grow by only 3.5 percent. If a marketing director isnt taking his/her stations website content as seriously as the program director takes the stations on-air content, there are massive audience interaction opportunities and accompanying revenue opportunities that are being lost.

To populate a stations website with content that attracts listeners (and advertisers) and keeps them coming back for more, its imperative that your content SERFS.

It must be:
Short no long paragraphs or entries that require endless scrolling to read
Engaging the content should be fun, snappy, and interesting to your audience
Relevant the content should relate directly to, be a continuation of, or have a connection to your format and your on-air programming
Fresh if you want listeners to spend time at your site each day, you need to update your site each day with new content that addresses their unique needs and tastes
Shareable your content should be so appealing, valuable, and irresistible that your Web audience is compelled to forward it to their social circles on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

By keeping the SERFS acronym in mind when vetting your stations Web content, youll have an effective benchmark to follow that will help to engage your current Web audience, build new audience, and ramp up your online ad revenues.

2. Is there an accepted notion that outdoor ads lure new listeners and/or increase audience TSL?

Radio stations buy outdoor billboard and truck ads because they believe that such measures are a worthwhile way to influence consumer behavior. The thought is that people will tune in or listen longer because they see a station logo on a huge roadside, building, or mobile placard.

The reality is that billboards are regarded in the ad world as being effective brand builders, not sales or audience builders. According to ad expert Stephen Rampur, outdoor ads create brand awareness and strong name recognition among passers-by. If a stations goal is to truly inspire listening, billboards especially those that feature a station logo/tagline/frequency/photo of an air personality - fall short: their results are impossible to measure, theyre expensive, and theyre a non-strategic Hail Mary pass that wont improve the fortunes of a struggling station.

In order for an outdoor radio station billboard ad to have a shot at influencing consumer behavior, it needs to pack a powerful and undeniable WIIFM punch (and by WIIFM, I dont mean a misspelled version of the AC station in Elkin, NC).

WIIFM which stands for Whats In It For Me in sales jargon is the prime motivator to inspire a desired action. In the case of the radio station billboard, the WIIFM would need to offer information about key station-driven benefits that are attractive, rewarding, and exciting to a listener, such as:

-- an upcoming or in-progress contest (on-air or online)

-- the benefits of joining a loyal listener program with Web content that delivers immediate gratification, such as exclusive coupons or deals

Using bold graphics, tight and punchy copy, and most importantly an irresistible WIIFM message, a strategic billboard campaign can create the possibility for increased audience, improved Web traffic, and enhanced revenue opportunities.

Rafe Gomez is a marketing and business strategy consultant.  His work has been featured on, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, PBS, ABC News Radio, WCBS-AM, and, and hes also the host/producer of Rockmixx, an internationally syndicated classic rock mash-up feature.

(9/21/2012 8:42:00 AM)
I see this guy's worked with some top firms and his suggestions are valid, but who is he? Never heard of him.

- Bill

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