“I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
Remember that line? It was uttered in the movie “Network” by Howard Beale and went on to become a popular movie drop used on many radio stations in their imaging. It also describes the feeling many in our business have when they see reports surface of another mass layoff by a large media company.
Last week, the New York Daily News lost its heartbeat when it pulled the plug on forty five of its best and brightest people. One section which was especially hit hard was the sports section which had become part of the fabric of New York sports coverage for decades.
When I heard the news, I was irate. Seeing talented individuals lose their jobs due to the incompetence of ownership is frustrating. Frank Isola, John Harper, and Peter Botte, to name a few, showed up every day for decades, excelling at their craft. They were exceptional sports writers who provided superb content, and were one of the few reasons I still read my hometown newspaper. But now due to executive ignorance, and bad business decisions, their efforts and loyalty have been rewarded with a pink slip and a mention in a corporate press release thanking them for their years of service.
After the Daily News gutted their newsroom, many personalities took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with the situation. Everyone from Michael Kay to Tony Reali to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo fired shots at Tronc, the parent company of the News, demanding answers for the exodus. Though I share their hostility for the recent turn of events, and will no longer invest one single second reading the Daily News’ content, I can’t help but wonder if this is the new normal for the media business.
Think about it, the New York Daily News, a staple of consistency, has now been torn apart from the inside out. ESPN, a company which seemed safeguarded from any kind of bloodletting, endured mass layoffs twice in the past few years. Rogers Communications and Bell Media, two successful companies in Canada, both eliminated hundreds of jobs in the past few years. Vox Media, BuzzFeed, and Meredith Corp., the company which bought Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and Money, also reduced their work forces.
It leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth, but also makes you realize that operating in today’s world is very different. If a company doesn’t stay ahead of the curve, and find ways to reinvent its business model, they soon pay the price for falling behind, regardless of how successful or important they’ve been to their customer’s lives.
As I began writing this piece, I started reflecting on brands that were once important to me but have since decreased in value. Coincidentally, a number of those companies have either gone out of business or been severely altered. In some ways, I and those of you reading this who think like me, share in the blame for their demise. If we don’t continue supporting businesses, they lose money. When they lose money, jobs are lost. If expenses continue to outweigh profitability, larger decisions about a company’s future are explored.
I grew up on Toys R Us. It was my favorite store in the world as a kid. After I became an adult, the store had less value. That connection was restored when I became a father, but even then, the amount of business I did with the store compared to what I and my father did when I was a kid was drastically less.
When I was younger, the option to order merchandise on my phone and have it arrive at my door the next day didn’t exist. Had it been a possibility, I might never have discovered the charm of going into a Toys R Us. I was disappointed when I heard the store was shutting its doors in late June, but I then recalled how many times I had ordered toys for my son online, and quickly understood why.
In my teenage and early adult years, I practically lived at Blockbuster Video. I loved going into that store, buying a bucket of popcorn, and finding the latest movie rentals. It was a great family experience. But once television began offering On-Demand video, and groups like Netflix launched with superior offerings, those trips to Blockbuster stopped. The video rental chain was even given a chance to survive when Netflix offered to sell to them for $50 million dollars, but they botched that too. Netflix is now worth nearly $150 billion dollars.
Throughout my life, music has been a big part of my enjoyment. I’ve consistently supported artists by purchasing hundreds of singles and albums, and because I did, stores like FYE, Tower Records, Sam Goody, and Strawberries earned a lot from my paychecks. Once Napster launched and made file sharing possible, many started buying less records. Then as Apple, Spotify and Amazon made larger investments in offering music, the need to go buy a CD became minimal.
If you drive to most towns in America today, most of these stores barely exist. WalMart, Target, and a handful of others still sell music, but the selections are thin. The majority of music purchasing now takes place online, and although I still like to buy a CD at the store every now and then, I do it far less than I used to.
Having things appear on our phones, television screens, and doorsteps, has changed the consumer experience for the better. We still have interest in many of the same products, but our needs are different. We want things quickly, conveniently, and affordably. The idea of driving to stores, standing in lines, and paying higher prices is a thing of the past. It may sadden us to see some places exit the retail world that were once important to us, but when brand’s fail to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment, that can happen.
Which brings me to the radio business.
What Toys R Us, Blockbuster Video, and the NY Daily News have experienced is what could also face the radio industry in the future if it doesn’t evolve. The content will of course remain vital regardless of which era it’s offered in, but what about the way radio features advertising? Do you honestly think businesses are going to occupy fifteen minutes per hour on radio stations in between songs or talk content down the line?
Take a look around the world. TV networks have begun reducing their inventory. Why? They know people won’t sit thru long stretches of commercials. Advertisers know it too and don’t want to spend money just to be tuned out. That’s especially the case when viewers watch on-demand programming. They take their DVR, and immediately fast forward past the commercials to continue watching their favorite shows thus making it extremely difficult for the advertiser to reach them.
Check out YouTube. Their audience sizes are huge, and they realize that ads running 15 seconds or less are their only chance to keep people on the platform. Once longer commercials are pushed towards the viewer, they vanish. If offered in small doses though, fans of the content will sit thru it. The company has especially seen great results pushing six second ads.
Since I became a YouTube TV and Roku subscriber, I’ve learned how their approach works. The programming options are endless, and the video quality is exceptional, but if there’s a downside, it’s that when recorded shows air, the viewer is forced to sit thru a commercial break. The breaks are still shorter than what you receive on normal television, but even a one-minute spot break feels like an eternity when you’re watching a recorded show and trying to skip ahead to the next part of the content. At some point I’d expect that to change, but even if the breaks remained :30-:60 seconds, I think most people would accept it if it meant keeping costs low and content quality high.
So where does that leave radio? How exactly do you replace 15-20 minutes of spots per hour, and various inclusions in content (sports updates, traffic reports, weather updates, stock reports, etc.), and still remain profitable?
You could try to charge the audience to listen, but that’s a tall order. You could raise your rates for the limited amount of ad time inside your programming, and that’ll work with some clients, but not with all. It’s easy to suggest reducing ad times on stations because of audience demand, but how exactly do you replenish all that lost income?
We could investigate the possibility of further monetizing social media, podcasts, apps, and smart speakers, and although they’re all important to our business growth, if we’re not excelling in these spaces now, why would you expect them to be areas we’d dominate in down the line? Other opportunities will revolve around some of the things we do now such as creating events, and producing branded content. We’ll also have to become retailers, using our platforms to sell custom merchandise and products created by partners who we share revenue with.
Remember, most of the areas that we play in, belong to someone else. Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and Google own the property, we just rent it. 5 years ago Facebook began limiting the ability of a brand to reach its entire audience. Think they won’t do that again? As soon as they see you reaping the rewards from utilizing their platform, they’re going to put up more roadblocks to take more money out of your pocket.
Keep that in mind as you’re falling deeper in love with the Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Those devices are great, and give our fans a chance to hear our content without interruptions. But do you think Amazon and Google won’t eliminate your ads in the future and serve their own up to your audience? Do you honestly believe they wouldn’t do to your brand what Facebook did, and force you to spend money to reach your listeners? As they gain more momentum, do you think they’re going to make it easy on you to access and use your data however you see fit?
A few other things you need to ask yourself, if the business model is going to change that drastically, how will that help with attracting future sellers? Is a new seller going to want to sell audio instead of Facebook, Google, Twitter or Amazon? Will a new salesperson see a better financial path to success selling audio or video? What about our current sellers who rely on selling radio ad time to make a living? If they see limited potential right now earning a living selling apps, podcasts, social media, and your brand’s website, why would they put their focus in that space when it doesn’t pay the bills?
What’s really going to be important is the measurement of our performance in these other locations, and our ability to educate advertisers on the way our programming can help them generate results. If our brands are well established, and the talent we employ possess the skill to mentally own space inside the listener’s mind, then we’ll still have a chance to gain support and trust from local and national business partners.
Perhaps the bigger challenge is going to be for programmers and content creators, because there might come a time when shows aren’t taking commercial breaks. Picture HBO programming where the movie never ends. Your breaks would come in the form of vignettes, liners, airing of soundbites, taped interviews, etc. In other words, following the content model of podcasts, and SiriusXM which reward the user and limit the interruptions.
That could also lead to shows being shorter in length too. If the average metered listener consumes your programming for 30-45 minutes per occasion, are you better served with one 4-hour show or two 2-hour shows? Some could even make a case for four 1-hour shows.
If breaks were someday to be done away with, advertisers would have to be further woven into the content without it seeming forced. If we hope to compete with other media for dollars and listeners, we’re going to need a less is more mindset, and give clients an opportunity to be more intertwined into specific programming. Movies and TV shows have done a great job of including brands into their content, and it’s a space where radio can step its game up. Barstool Sports and Bleacher Report, two relatively newer brands (under 20 years in operation), have figured out how to excel at it. Radio with its rich history should be able to do the same.
Change is inevitable in every business. Whether it’s complicated or not, technology creates it, audiences demand it, and dollars follow it. If we want to avoid future dark days where our best people lose opportunities and serve as reminders of our failure to read the signs and modify the way we approach our business, then we’ve got to get out in front of these issues rather than waiting them to arrive on our doorstep. When habits change, you either adapt, or get rendered obsolete. The winds of change wait for no one.
Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network
“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”
To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.
As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.
If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Which brings me to today’s announcement.
If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.
After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.
The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.
I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.
One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.
Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.
Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.
What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.
Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.
Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.
5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs
“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”
I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.
Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.
But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.
Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.
If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.
Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.
For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.
At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.
I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.
Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.
Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.
Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.
Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.
Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.
Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.
Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?
How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.
But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?
As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.
Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.
Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.
I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.
What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.
As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.
Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.
But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.
Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.
There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.
I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.