How To Keep Long-Term Clients


You work hard to close business, now it’s time to think strategically so you can keep them with your station for a very long time.


Too many radio schedules air the same number of commercials the first week as the last week, regardless of the advertiser’s messaging or previous advertising history. It’s not always in the best interest of the advertiser to schedule so linearly.

There clearly are times when it makes sense to “heavy up” at the beginning of campaign, particularly when the advertiser has been “dark” for any length of time, when the messaging is complex, or when a new product/service is being introduced.

If the advertiser is new to radio, it’s important to stress in advance that it’s not like turning on the water. It takes time, no matter how powerful the creative or offer. And if they have been using newspaper, it still means that they’ve been “dark” to most of the market, as newspaper circulation figures are so low.

Getting an accurate handle on the competitive environment in which our client’s campaign will air is also critical and should impact our scheduling recommendations. Media Monitors and/or some due diligence can be helpful, as:

— It enables us to more accurately determine the media weight required to generate the desired results. If we’re recommending schedule “X” and our client’s competition has historically, and continues to air, “2X” or “3X,” the chances for negative commercial misattribution is quite large. A more guerilla-like scheduling approach, “owning” a daypart or station, or airing shorter-form commercials, might be warranted.

— A better understanding of the immediate competitive landscape can provide empirical justification as to why radio should become a larger part of their media mix vs television or newspaper. Getting considerably outspent in television leads to considerably lower results.

— It enables us to have a more professional and strategic discussion beyond “spray,” “pray,” now “pay.”

— This is the first step toward a renewal, having a strategic discussion and setting proper expectations.

If the campaign’s goal is to “educate,” i.e. communicating detailed information about an offering, we might consider recommending more of a frequency based approach; fewer stations, heavier spot load, particularly at the beginning of the flight, and fewer dayparts.

If the goal is to increase awareness, consideration, trial, purchase, or re-purchase, a reach focused effort, utilizing more stations with fewer commercials per station, scheduled across more dayparts, would likely deliver a better result.

Campaign Goals:

If the goal is to squeeze into a consumer’s “consideration set,” i.e. consider buying my car or shop my store, increased foot traffic could be the defining metric. Agreeing on how this will be accurately quantified is critical. This is not an easy quant and needs to be discussed prior to the schedule airing. It’s also best to monitor “traffic” progress throughout the campaign, making any copy or scheduling adjustments as needed.

If the goal is to generate “trial,” increased sales will likely be the guiding metric, so deciding on the time frame for comparison is critical. Macro seasonal, economic factors as well as micro competitive, and weather-related factors all play a role in the success of any campaign and need to be kept in mind when deciding upon the time frame of comparison. As stated in previous blogs, maintaining current sales in the face of intense competitive ad pressure can and should be judged a success.

It’s also important to keep in mind that advertising can have a longer term residual effect that extends beyond flight weeks. So it makes sense to include and evaluate sales metrics several weeks beyond the end of any campaign.

Advertisers have too many other options where they can spend their marketing dollars for us to not be asking ourselves these questions and discussing them with our clients. No doubt there are few absolute hard and fast guidelines, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be making professional scheduling recommendations based upon our best thinking and experience.

We were sent this and thought it could not be more on target:


We hope everyone had a terrific Memorial Day weekend!


  1. The most important thing which helps in keeping your long tern clients is honesty so as far as you are honest with them you should not have any problems.

  2. On a poor market in Europe, the one that would easily fit into three NYC skyscrapers, I maintain 60 mid to long term contracts in an average month. Maybe you guys from the US should take a look across the ocean, and pump some fresh air to your sales strategies. Here’s mine, for 9 out of 10 sales:
    – the standard offer is 30 seconds/6 times/day
    – the unique range (5 AM to 9 PM) for everyone, except for special services, e.g. that are offered to customers in night hours only, so it doesn’t make sense to call for action in the noon
    – the entire schedule maintained by a brilliantly simple piece of traffic scheduling software named Admaster, so that the selected range of hours is divided into equal dayparts, and then the spot is inserted in a randomly selected hour inside the daypart. There are several smart separation formulas (e.g. no two ads for same business careied in the same break) that prevent bad blood anong clients.
    – the listener never hears the same ad break
    – the random selection thing brings a perfect smell of unexpected: today, the schedule is e.g. 6, 7, 10 AM, tomorrow it will be 8, 9 and 12. Another day, another schedule.
    – last but not least: react if a client wants to bother the audience with four repeatings of a phone number, and offer more creativity instead.

  3. Sorry, Bob.
    I have leeches attached to me with little of any consequence to say and nothing to learn.
    Your well-formed positions attest to a great deal of credibility – and, when applied, useful outcomes.

  4. Robinson- Here’s a guy who hates radio, says he couldn’t make a living in radio and yet RadioInk gives him a weekly blog to vomit at us with his sick, meandering, pretentious babble, all of which show the signs of a mentally disturbed person whose time has passed. Pathetic.

  5. My sales closing percentages are actually extremely high.
    But they are not in radio. I know too much about radio’s standard creative offerings to do that to a local advertiser.
    Obviously, if I had to make a living in radio or radio sales – I’d be dead.
    As to being admonished for offering content on other radio-related subjects (like this one): What are the chances I would defer to slanderous, anonymous, uninformed trolls?
    Further and by rights, any and all of these topics deserve a great deal more participation and comment than they generally get.
    Meanwhile, I maintain Bob’s original premises still win the day.

  6. Ronald Robinson,

    You have your own weekly blog at RadioInk. Do you comment on others’ blogs, thinking that we need to hear from you during the interims? I hope not.

  7. Robinson,

    I don’t normally talk to you because you’re an idiot..but here goes:

    I’m sure that in your extensive sales career consisting of 10 calls which failed-then you went back into hiding in the glass cage studio, that you have lots of sales success stories you can share as I do to back up my stance. Let’s hear them. Or would you rather continue to be RadioInk’s gadfly?

  8. Seems like salesguy’s alternative is the equivalent to a campaign of non-stop carpet-bombing.
    Who pays for the ordinance and aircraft maintenance?
    It won’t be the taxpayers.
    Bob’s is the workable strategy.

  9. Way too tentative, Bob. Too many “mights” and “coulds” in your analysis. A better approach is to ask the advertiser how many hours a day does he have his business sign outside his business. The answer is how many hours a day he is looking for customers and how many hours a day he needs to be advertising to them-24/7/365.


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