CRS In Action: 'From Zero To Hero: Successful Promotions With No Budget'
February 26, 2015 at 3:42 PM (PT)
The CRS panel "FROM ZERO TO HERO: SUCCESSFUL PROMOTIONS WITH NO BUDGET" took place TODAY (2/26) and featured LEIGHTON BROADCASTING's ROB LEIGHTON, WPCV/LAKELAND's JESSICA BROWN, CUMULUS MEDIA/NASHVILLE's JESSICA BEATTIE, and BBR MUSIC GROUP's JOJAMIE HAHR. The panel was moderated by LON HELTON.
The panel helped attendees learn strategies, planning and execution of promotions, while having little to zero of a budget.
The panel started off with BROWN talking about what her first step is when putting together a promotion:
"When a sales person comes to me and tells me they want a promotion for their client, I tend to ask them 'what can they offer us that is good for our listeners?' We're promoting the client, but we're also promoting the station, so it needs to benefit the listeners. Trying to find that happy-medium is my first step."
LEIGHTON added, "From the management side, I see on-air and promotions come with great ideas that will get more listeners, but will cost us money or detract from the sales side of the equation, so we try to come at it and look for a win-win-win. Win for the listeners, win for the client, and win for the station by bringing in the money to cover the costs, that's what we go for."
HELTON then asked the panel how important is it to make sure the promotions are fun.
BROWN responded, "I think having fun is important. If it's fun for the air talent, they'll make it fun for the listeners, and if the listeners are having fun then they're going to continue to listen, and they're going to tell their friends. The more fun you can make it, the better it is for everyone.
HELTON then asked "What are some of the most fun promotions you've ever done that were cheap to do?"
HAHR chimed in and said, "WDXB's TOM HANRAHAN came to me when I was at VALORY and working with REBA, and said 'what would you think of REBA coming to my listeners dressing room, instead of having the listener doing a private meet-and-greet with her in her dressing room?' and I thought it was brilliant and it didn't take any money on our part or his part. Their station had such a great relationship with the venue that they just had to go to the venue to get it cleared that they could do that and have a room. At those big arenas there is usually a ton of those empty rooms. We did it up nice and ended up having some catering in there for the listener. Other than that, all it took on our side was to get REBA to approve it, and as you guys know REBA is amazing, so all it took was getting her to stop by for 10-15 minutes before she went on to her regular meet and greet. On the label side, it's always really refreshing when stations come to us and say 'hey what about this or this.' If you have something, come to us and 99% of the time we'll try and get it done."
HELTON's next question was, "The NTR events, can they and are they as effective as driving ratings and building ratings as on-air promotions, or is it primarily just to make money?"
BEATTIE answered first saying, "Absolutely, because if the station is on site with their talent and they're doing a live remote for four hours at their own food festival, their own beer festival, that's their ownership. They're taking ownership of that event. It's like doing a tailgate party at one of your sports stations. Instead of just having that van or that truck out there, you create something else. Do a barbeque, bring in a community charity like ROTARY CLUB. It looks good for everybody, and you're benefitting yourself and a non-profit."
LEIGHTON added, "With NTR, our company has two directives. One is to make money. Number two is gain visibility for the radio station."
BEATTIE jumped back into the conversation and stated, "One of the things that has been benefitting us lately is to work with the labels and to find up and coming talent that could be a part of our event, so we turn these into 'Young Gun' shows and turnkey events. It's not that we don't want to work with some of the greatest Country stars that we have, but it is always nice to help those that are trying to make it and it helps the label too get that exposure on-air. We are looking at many opportunities and helping everybody."
HAHR and BROWN echoed BEATTIE's thoughts on that matter.
HELTON asked what many radio people were thinking during the panel, "It seems in these days, manpower is the issue. How do you solve that?"
BROWN responded, "I use interns. I use interns a lot. I'm in a medium market and we don't have that manpower. I started with one intern six years ago, and this semester I'm up to six. I use them pretty heavily. They go out to festivals, and they're on the air with our DJs, etc. If you have colleges, these kids are wanting to learn, they're wanting to build their resumes. If you're willing to build the program a little bit, they're willing to do the work."
HELTON concluded by asking if there were any low-budget promotions that really worked for the panel's stations.
"One of the things that ended up being really big was a promotion that we called 'PAYING IT FORWARD FRIDAYS',' said LEIGHTON. "We sent an intern out with a $100 to pay for coffee and this and that. I don't know if we intended to do it for the whole year or not, but after two weeks a listener called in and said 'I'll give you a hundred bucks to do it next week.' And then we actually had a car dealership, who had never been on the air with us before, who called and said they wanted to sponsor it. He ended up paying for the promotion the rest of the year. That was neat."