Radio Brought Me A Great Idea. Now I’m Hooked.


We were introduced to Carlos Navarro by 2016 Radio Wayne finalist WIP/Philadelphia Sales Manager Vince Gambino. Navarro is the VP of marketing for South Jersey Industries, a publicly traded energy company based in New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia. Navarro says Vince and his team brought him a true “surround sound” integrated marketing program, with radio being the key component. SJI was able to tie in WIP’s digital assets and promotions and gain access to Philadelphia sports players and executives, and Navarro says the WIP team works tirelessly to make sure anything SJI does with the station is well executed: “They really do go above and beyond.”

RI: What first got you involved in using radio?
Navarro: When you tie into an asset like WIP, which is a trusted brand in our area, it’s a great way to reach our target audience at an affordable rate, while also leveraging its brand equity. It’s affordable and target-specific, and WIP offers us relevant content that’s right for our product. They’ve also got great on-air personalities who are very accessible and work well with us.

RI: How do you use radio?
Navarro: We use it to drive brand awareness. We’re in a very competitive marketplace, and it gives us great reach and frequency to drive awareness about who we are and what we do, which is a priority for us. Also, radio gives us an opportunity to tie our spending to activities that are relevant to our products. In our case, we’re an energy company, and we’re able to sponsor weather updates. A lot of people listen to radio just for weather updates, where they’re more likely to be receptive to an energy-saving message. So it gives us a chance to tie into information that people are specifically tuning in to hear.

RI: You said the team at WIP works tirelessly to make sure they bring you ideas. Give us an example.
Navarro: Vince Gambino and his team differentiate themselves by bringing us creative ideas. He’s not just selling assets that the company has. He brings the assets that WIP and CBS Philly have to bear, but in creative ways.

WIP's Vince Gambino
WIP’s Vince Gambino

Let me give you a specific example: We are doing a “Business of Sports” speaker series through Vince and WIP. Selling energy isn’t always an exciting, sexy proposition, right? So how do you make it interesting? How do you get business leaders to engage with you? He came up with the idea of having a speaker series where we bring business leaders together to discuss topics that our audience will have interest in.

He pulled together an event for us in Philadelphia with the CEO and general manager of the Eagles to talk about the opportunities and challenges of running a professional sports franchise. This is a topic in which business leaders have interest — how a successful enterprise like the Eagles runs its business. We had tremendous turnout at this event, which brought us new prospects and provided a great venue for entertaining our current customers.

What’s more is that he and his team executed the whole thing. They handled the catering, scheduled the venue, and pulled together the agenda. They coordinated the talent from the Eagles and their broadcast talent, such as Howard Eskin and Glen Macnow. It was like having an extension of our marketing team working for us.

RI: How do radio people break through and get through to clients like you? You only have X amount of time, and everybody wants to get in to see you.
Navarro: It’s really about what you can do for us that’s different. To your point exactly, we get a lot of people reaching out to us about media opportunities. My team and I want to know, first, what are you going to do that’s different? That’s really important. We are looking for creative thought.

Second, we are looking for an integrated media plan. Radio can be at the core of the plan, but we want a true “surround sound” program that will allow us to reach our customers in different ways. For example, are there promotional opportunities that you’re bringing to the table? Are there cross-selling opportunities? Will we have access to on-air talent, and will we be able to network with other customers? What kind of digital assets are you allowing us to tap into to broaden our reach and frequency?

RI: Do you get called on by Pandora, and does that play a role at all in your marketing?
Navarro: Yes, we use Pandora in our marketing and have had good results. It’s a targeted medium that is highly measurable.

RI: What does the radio industry need to know about what Pandora is doing for clients?
Navarro: I would say Pandora is another communications channel. I wouldn’t say that it’s either radio or Pandora; rather, Pandora is a complement to radio. Like radio, Pandora offers a range of genres, but on a much more personalized, commercial-free basis. We also know that people who listen to certain types of music fit certain demographic or psychographic profiles, which allows us to target better.

RI: Do you think the radio industry should be worried that clients like you are spending money with Pandora?
Navarro: I think it should be something they are concerned about. But again, we don’t see it as a replacement for radio. We see it as a complement to radio.

RI: Does it ever concern you that radio stations play too many commercials?
Navarro: It depends on the radio channel. If it’s primarily a music channel, then yes, I am worried about the number of commercials they’re playing because that’s just a chance for our target audience to switch to another medium. That’s a concern.

However, WIP is more of an information-based channel, which works better for us. PeopleWIP Logo are there for knowledge and sports information, which works better for us as we target our our B2B audience. People tune in to listen to the sports content and unique on-air talent, which is “stickier” than music alone. They also tune in for weather updates, which work well with our energy-saving message.

RI: How do you know that you’re getting results using radio?
Navarro: We measure everything we do. There’s always a call to action that lets us know the type of response that we’re getting from radio. There may be a specific URL that people go to for more information, a phone number, or we’ll monitor our overall increase in Web traffic when we know our spots are running. Social media and e-mail assets that CBS Philly and WIP bring to us are also highly measurable. Having a call to action allows us to also test different messages, different spot types and lengths to understand which are most effective.

south-jersey-industriesRI: What can the radio industry do better?
Navarro: That’s a good question. I would say don’t look to just sell radio. You should offer an integrated communications package, where radio is a component of the marketing mix, but not the only one. There are so many different ways that consumers get their content now. Radio can’t get it done on its own; it’s got to be radio plus value-add, plus promotion, plus digital, etc. WIP, being part of CBS Philly, is well positioned since it’s able to offer us a full “surround sound” plan given all the assets to which it has access, including TV.GAMBINO


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