This Is Radio’s Real 21st Century Opportunity

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(By Loyd Ford) Local business owners have the same challenge as everyone else in 2021: They must draw more customers.

If a pandemic has come and is going, how does the change in consumer behavior impact what local business owners need? Well, it doesn’t impact this: They must draw more customers.

When it comes to local, people get in their cars and trucks and go get things. That’s ‘Merica in the 21st Century.

I’m not saying they don’t order things on Amazon and use services to get delivery at home. I’m saying the America you live in is not standing still. Even during a pandemic, the local state governments and the federal government have all been very frustrated trying to get Americans to ‘stay at home, stay six feet apart and wear masks.’

When they get in the car or truck, they are very, very often still flipping radio on even before they leave their driveway.

I know, but what about Amazon? So, let’s start over, right?

If something called Amazon comes along, local businesses still have the challenge of drawing more local customers. How does Amazon change this? They don’t. The pressure from Amazon only intensifies the competitive environment for local business owners, but it doesn’t change their problem.

And radio is an advertising vehicle that is all about fixing problems of connectivity to local customers.

However, the American public (and the public in your market) is highly mobile.  That means: Cars & Trucks.

That means radios.
The story of radio has even more opportunity if we are willing to go take it. Powerful, companionship-based, trusted by radio listeners, influencing the most mobile local consumers in the history of our country often at the point of purchase or certainly just before purchases.

Our sellers should be encouraged to build creative stories of more success for individual local business people putting our radio product or products in the center of the story about their fresh opportunities for success. And if you are a seller, who is your best friend to help tell the story and then to help connect your local clients directly with these mobile Americans in your market? Your radio personalities. The very essential and sometimes forgotten power of local radio.

Creativity is our most powerful tool. Not just on the air. And not sales packages. We must encourage the use of creativity to elevate and engage our potential clients and tempt them with value and ROI because our sellers are pointing to real opportunities that local radio is very good at leveraging.

When we go get in front of potential clients, we must be thinking about what they really want, what they really need and how radio can serve that best right now. If we don’t do this, it makes our sales people look as if they are showing up saying, “Do you have any money for me?” No, they don’t.

We must come with creative ideas that often surprise them with opportunities they didn’t see coming. Very often these opportunities are elevated if we build them in ways that shut out their competitors from an opportunity. People underestimate surprise and potential clients are used to seeing the same old stuff out of radio. Let’s give ‘em something new.

What do you do when people take you for granted? Surprise them.

Once you have a radio station, you really can get anything you want. You do that by leveraging the power of creativity, surprise and leaning into the advantages of radio’s speed, access to mobile, active customers and radio’s ability to connect with everything local.

This is the true power of local radio.

Loyd Ford consults radio stations, coaches personalities, and provides behavioral and strategic programming to radio with RPC. Reach him anytime. 864.448.4169 or [email protected].

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