And they come from the EVP of Corporate Marketing for Cumulus and Westwood One President Suzanne Grimes, who is one of Radio Ink‘s 2017 Most Influential Women in Radio. Grimes was recently singled out by Cumulus CEO Mary Berner in Cumulus’ latest earnings call after Berner reported Westwood One had a “significantly positive performance in the quarter.”
Berner said, “It’s not a coincidence that the business had its best quarter in years just about a year after we brought in a single leader at the top who has a comprehensive view of and accountability for the entire network business.”
Grimes was brought into her new position back in December of 2015. She’s the former President and Chief Operating Officer of Clear Channel Outdoor North America. Grimes is responsible for developing corporate marketing, and sales execution strategies that support revenue across Cumulus. As President of Westwood One, she’s the general operator, overseeing the strategic direction and execution of the network’s operations, programming, and advertising partnerships.
Grimes will appear in Radio Ink’s Most Influential Women in Radio issue set to be released on June 19. In our interview we asked her what she’d like to see the radio industry do better. And her answer was very detailed.
“#1 – Call on brands and planners and tell the story of audio. Prove how AM/FM radio is the centerpiece of American audio. #2 – Market to advertisers on our air. We have a 93% reach, let’s use it! Your clients and prospects are listening. Prove impact. #3 – We need to conduct more ROI and sales lift studies. We have to prove results.
In sum, I want radio to take its “story” back! Radio gave birth to many of the audio innovation trends we are talking about today. It has incredible ROI and reach — but radio also has a human thread that connects us through trust, connection, and community. It’s really a great story.”
Here is more from our interview with Suzanne Grimes
Radio Ink: What are you doing to make the radio industry stronger?
Grimes: I’ve been focused on telling our incredibly powerful narrative to a broader audience to bring new revenue to the radio industry. Advertisers want proof of impact. In response, Westwood One has conducted dozens of sales and brand lift studies. We then share the findings with the entire industry. You can access these studies and sales insights on the Westwood One blog (www.westwoodone.com/blog)
For example, we worked with Nielsen on behalf of an auto aftermarket retailer to measure the sales lift of their entire radio campaign. Nielsen matched PPM commercial audiences with spending from their credit card database from 70 million homes. The result? Radio delivered a stunning $21 ROI. For every dollar of radio advertising, twenty-one dollars of incremental sales were generated. If you average all the retail ROI studies Nielsen has conducted, radio generates 10 dollars of sales for every dollar of radio advertising… that’s undeniable proof of results and impact.
Radio Ink: What advice can you offer readers on how to be successful?
Grimes: Building a successful career in radio is not fundamentally different from building a successful career most anywhere. First off, it helps to love what you do because you can’t fake passion, and passion and commitment overcome a lot of obstacles. Beyond that, put in the time, be intellectually curious, take risks, emulate those you admire, and work your tail off.
Specific to radio, it’s paramount that you constantly think about your audience and remain laser focused on the listener and their experience with your station and your content. Build that unique relationship rooted in community and companionship and trust. On the sales side, you need to trumpet the power of audio relentlessly to ensure that radio gets its fair share of media investments today.
Radio Ink: What steps should they take to achieve their goals?
Grimes: From the beginning, you need to define what success looks like for you. That can be a very personal perspective. With that, establish clear and achievable milestones for yourself and hold yourself accountable to them. Furthermore, share your goals and aspirations with your supervisor and your mentors. They can be incredibly helpful in charting the course with you. Oh, and one more thing… be adaptable enough to revise your goals when the unexpected happens, which it inevitably will.
Radio Ink: What is it about you that makes you successful and influential?
Grimes: If you know me, you know I listen more than I speak. I believe our partners, advertisers, audience, and employees hold the key insights into how we can make Cumulus and Westwood One the best company it can be. It’s my responsibility to listen and to then make decisions that lead us to success, but the path to get there belongs to all of us… and I’m there to help remove the obstacles that sometimes get in our way.
Subscribe to Radio Ink in time to receive the 2017 Most Influential Women in Radio issue HERE