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Everyone Can Relate To The Scoreboard by Bob Richards

Jason Barrett

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For the past two decades, sports radio stations across the country have made a stronger commitment to pairing broadcasters and former athletes. It’s been labeled as the “winning combination” inside industry circles and when built properly and executed well, it can draw larger audiences to the dial.

mmThe idea is to put the broadcaster in charge of handling the formatics, topic building, audience engagement, and sponsor reads, while delivering the opinions that are representative of the local fan base. The athlete meanwhile provides the on the field insight and experience and utilizes their relationships inside the game to create content that is unique and unable to be duplicated.

On the surface that formula may make sense but there are also a few things that aren’t often taken into consideration.

First, an athlete certainly does provide great name value to draw in the common fan. That doesn’t mean though that they’re going to click with the broadcaster you pair them with. Some air talent are insecure, jealous, and agitated by the fact that the former player didn’t have to pay dues to earn their spot. Quite frankly, they don’t have the right mental makeup to be part of that type of program.

Secondly, the athlete doesn’t always respect the medium or care to put in the hard work that’s required to help a show succeed. Some players lose sight that their career may have helped them gain entry inside the building but that only lasts for so long. A number of them turn to this line of work because they’re not sure what to do when their playing days are done, and this seems like an easy transition. Once they recognize that their is a homework assignment every day and night, they get frustrated, mentally check out and eventually leave.

Most most athletes who break into this business usually do so between the ages of 35-50. That’s often when a personality’s career is just taking off. For a broadcaster who has paid dues and chased success and finally has it within their grasp, the last thing they desire is to be connected to an athlete who was given a shortcut to the same position and doesn’t care to invest themselves as much as they do in the opportunity. In many instances, they believe that the athlete is in foreign territory and doesn’t belong in it because they don’t understand the rules of the radio game nor care about them the same way.

But that’s where even the smartest broadcasters in this business can be wrong and make a major mistake.

The reason some of these pairings perform at a high level is because both men involved in the creation of the program understand their roles and how to present something of value to the audience. They realize their own strengths and weaknesses and how to use them to build a show that connects with everyone. They share a strong work ethic individually and collectively, and they place a high priority on developing a chemistry and relationship that carries onto the airwaves. There is no “ego” in worrying about who the star is or how much mic time they receive, only a focus on creating good content and lifting each other up.

flI’ve been lucky to work with some great former athletes, coaches and front office executives like Lorenzo Neal, Eric Davis, D’Marco Farr, Chris Duncan, Rick Venturi and Tony Softli who did their homework and cared about what they were presenting. I found them all to be excellent to work with because they had a number of things in common – they loved to compete and win, they believed in preparation, and they were willing to accept coaching and criticism when they weren’t taking care of their responsibilities. These guys made their living for years off of winning and losing, and they understood that when they made plays and put more W’s on the board, it led to more money in their pockets.

Because I understood their mentality and could relate it to the sports radio business, they were able to digest a lot of what we do, and have their own successes. I learned that what I was worried would appear foreign to them, actually became very simple for them to pick up because it all tied back to wins/losses, strategy, preparation, teamwork, and being accountable.

If you’re an on-air talent, producer or programmer and you have an athlete on your team, remember this. Just because a former player didn’t grow up on teases, re-sets and TSL and take the same road to radio stardom that you did, doesn’t mean they don’t have the same desire or an ability to understand how to execute. It sounds cliche but the best teams in sports often deliver the best results, and in radio it’s not much different.

One person who has had experience with this subject is Program Director Bob Richards. Bob has worked in Boulder and Denver, Colorado, Buffalo, New York and was most recently in charge of programming for 790 The Zone in Atlanta before the station flipped formats. Having managed a number of former athletes during his career, I thought he’d have some great insight to offer and I think you’ll really enjoy the way he lays out tackling this topic.

Everyone Can Relate To The Scoreboard

Here we are getting ready to celebrate the New Year, a time for resolutions to do things differently in an effort to create better results in various areas of our lives. For me, I’m praying to God that 2016 brings a FATTER bank account and a THINNER body. It’s the same prayer I had last year but I apparently I didn’t communicate it very well and he got the two mixed up!

bobrichardsI’m a big advocate of prayer but prayer isn’t a strategy, especially when it comes to your air staff and communicating with them to get the most out of them. If your staff is composed of air talent who come from a radio background and former players who have played for one of the major sports leagues, you’re sitting on a potential time bomb that you need to manage before it blows up.

Air talent working with former players creates an interesting dynamic. Think about it, the radio guys view the jobs they do as their career and they think former players view their job as a hobby they do to satisfy their egos! They question the player’s motivation and dedication. They take issue when players seem to operate under different rules. They think some players can be condescending, operating from the position that if you didn’t play the game you can’t possibly have an opinion, let alone a correct opinion.

Their fear is that the players think show prep and guest acquisition is beneath them and they either won’t participate in remotes and client meetings or they don’t know how to act in those situations. Throughout my career I’ve heard it all. If it isn’t being verbalized between members of the air staff it’s being thought about. So what’s a manager to do?

Clearly there are significant benefits to having former players on your air staff. They bring a much higher profile to a new show both with the audience and with potential guests. It’s important that the staff understands those benefits and buys into them. Former players usually come with unique issues. The higher the profile, the more issues, especially with regards to scheduling. Helping the staff understand why it’s worth it is key.

winFor me, the answer to getting buy in from the staff is the same answer as getting more out of the former player, it’s a meeting I call the Scoreboard. The key to managing a former player is to appeal to the one thing they can relate to – COMPETITION! They have to know if they’re winning or losing and what’s working and what isn’t.

In this meeting I start with a picture of an NFL scoreboard. It shows the score is 21–17, it’s the 4th quarter with two minutes left, the visitors have the lead but the home team has the ball on their own 20. Both teams are out of time outs.

I then ask the former player(s) what they know from looking at the scoreboard and I get the obvious answers. Most will say the visitors scored three touchdowns and kicked three extra points and the home team scored two touchdowns and kicked a field goal. There are other ways to have achieved those point totals and we discuss what those unlikely but possible scenarios might have been.

strategyThen I ask, what is the strategy we can assume from looking at the Scoreboard? We spend time discussing that a field goal does the team no good, they need a touchdown and since they have no time outs and 80 yards to go, they most likely won’t be running the ball. The defense is going to counter by using extra defensive backs, defending the boundaries so the offense can’t get out of bounds to stop the clock, and likely dialing up different blitz packages.

After we go through all the scenarios based on nothing more than looking at the Scoreboard I then ask the most important question of the former player(s). Do you expect that your teammates can read the scoreboard and know everything we just discussed? How would you feel about a teammate who couldn’t read the scoreboard, didn’t know how many points a touchdown was, and had to be told what to do in every case, then didn’t follow what they were told because they thought they knew a better way?

After I hear all the macho answers about the different ways that teammate would no longer be a teammate, I put up the second slide. It says, under no circumstances should anyone in the room answer any of the questions I’m going to ask next.

Then I put up ratings, AQH, Cume, Shares, ATE, etc. and I inform them that this is a radio scoreboard. Can you read it? Do you know who’s winning? Can you figure out how they put up those points? Can you develop a strategy based on what you see? If your answer to any of these question was no, are you being the best teammate you can be?

detailThe reality is they don’t need to understand all of the ratings minutia, that’s my job. What they do need to understand is that in the PPM world attention to detail matters, proper execution matters, getting one person in their target demo to listen for 5 more minutes a day can mean the difference between winning and losing, and being paid a bonus or missing out.

The Scoreboard meeting is meant to put everyone on notice of what my expectation is of them, all of them. It’s meant to appeal to their sense of competition. It’s meant to get them to come in for individual coaching sessions tailored to their level of knowledge and to get everyone on the team to the same basic level of understanding about why we do what we do and what my expectations are of them.

In the follow up individual meetings we go into what we can learn from the ratings and how we can manipulate them. They learn the importance of cross promotion with other dayparts, how to create a Target User Profile that defines who their audience is and help focus content decisions. They see the first of a few weekly reports, an On Time Report detailing how often they go into break on time ranked against the stations other shows and their competition.

I publish a “Social Media” report monthly that looks at Twitter and various social media follower totals that ranks them against other air talent in the market. There is a weekly website report that details the number views of their show page vs. other shows. I also publish a podcast download report that details the number of downloads vs. the stations other shows. Everything is designed to educate them on how they’re doing, how they can get better and to promote competition, the very thing former athletes thrive on.

algeIn my career I’ve had the privilege of working with both the good and the bad when it comes to former players transitioning to air talent. It was easy to see why Alge Crumpler was a four time Pro Bowler. He was a tireless worker who couldn’t put in enough time to learn his new craft. Former Quarterbacks Dave Archer and DJ Shockley came with the same preparation for show they put into a game plan.

Rodney Harrison recorded his weekly show for Westwood One from our studios in Atlanta and every week he came in with pages of handwritten notes well before his recording was supposed to start. I’ve also had to fire two very well known players from the Falcons Super Bowl team who didn’t give their radio jobs the respect it deserved. Both were hired by the competition and subsequently fired by them!

The New Year is only a few days away, and people treat the holiday like it’s some sort of life changing event, but the truth is, if the ratings and work ethic sucked last year, they’re going to suck next year. The way you change that is by motivating your staff to work as a team, and be laser focused on proper PPM blocking and tackling by tapping into the one thing they all understand – COMPETITION!

Bob Richards has served as an On-Air Talent, Program Director, Operations Manager, Vice President and Market Manager. He has worked in many different markets and formats can be reached by email at BobRichardsRadio@gmail.com or on Twitter @radiorichards.

Barrett Blogs

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.”

Jason Barrett

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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.

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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.”

Jason Barrett

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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.

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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

Jason Barrett

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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.

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