Why Every Radio Station Needs Two Marketing Teams
October 14, 2014
Every radio station needs two marketing teams.
Here's the short explanation: One to market to the audience, and one to market to potential advertisers.
Here's the longer explanation:
1. The Programming Marketing Team
Chances are, you already have one of the two marketing teams: one to market your radio station to listeners through channels besides the station itself. We'll call this the Programming Marketing Team. It may simply consist of your promotions department, in conjunction with your Program Director. Together they may work with other local media entities, place billboard or bus sign campaigns, and oversee social media marketing. The Programming Marketing Team is measured by the radio station's ratings. Bottom line, this marketing team you've probably got already.
2. The Sales Marketing Team
Outside of media companies, the function of marketing departments is to generate leads for the sales team. This means that if your only marketing team is focused solely on listeners, your station isn't marketing the way most other companies are.
Instead, many radio stations rely on the Sales Department to generate their own leads. How do sales teams do it? Often by "prospecting" - looking at other local media outlets to see who's advertising there, and trying to steal those clients away.
If your radio station relies on prospecting by the Sales Department to generate leads, you're leaving a lot of revenue on the table. Why? Because you're chasing leads after they're already made their purchasing decision. Nobody needs a radio station after they've already placed their media buy; so you'll need to get to them before they spend their money elsewhere.
To get to them early, you'll need two things: 1) a Sales Marketing Team dedicated solely to generating leads for the Sales Department, and (2) a website that has been set up to capture and nurture these leads.
Your Website is Key to Closing Sales
The website is a crucial component of this strategy. More and more, people are conducting research online before making a major purchase. Take cars, for example. Twenty years ago, people would start their search for a new car by going to local dealerships to ask a lot of questions. Back then, the car salesman was involved in the sale at an early enough stage that they could significantly influence the outcome.
Today, most people begin their search for a new car with the click of a mouse. By the time they get to the dealership, they already have a pretty good idea what they want to buy. The salesman has much less influence over the outcome of the sale.
The same is true of media buying. People are going to start their research online, so you'll need to engage them there long before any of your salespeople speak with them personally. Don't worry, your salespeople will still play a vital role in the process, but it's important to recognize that their role now comes much later in the buying cycle than it used to.
Instead, you'll need a Sales Marketing Team that can figure out how to drive traffic to your website, where you can capture contact information from leads using an online form. This marketing team may use a number of tools: online ads, social media, participation in discussion groups, event sponsorship, webinars, contesting, etc.
Three Types of Sales Content
You will want to create content specifically for potential advertisers that come to your wesbsite. This is different than the website content created for listeners. Divide this content into three types, which correspond to different stages of the buying cycle: Early, Mid-, and Late Stage Content.
1. Early Stage Content
Early Stage Content is for people who are just beginning to think about advertising their product or service. This content will be available on your website for free, without requiring people to give you their contact information. However, you will want to give them the option to sign up for an email list to receive more information like this. (Note that this is not the same as your email list for listeners.)
There is a good chance that Early Stage prospects have not even decided whether or not they are going to advertise yet, so you want to make some general advertising information available. At this point, do not assume that they have decided upon radio as their advertising medium. Here are some examples of Early Stage Content that you could make available on your website:
- Five Secrets to a Successful Advertising Campaign
- How to Determine the Necessary Budget for a Successful Media Campaign
- Five Signs That You Are Ready to Run an Advertising Campaign
2. Mid-Stage Content
Mid-Stage Content is for potential clients who are further along in the buying cycle. You are targeting people who have decided that they definitely want to advertise, and are now comparing different mediums, such as television, print, outdoor, and online. Now, you need to convince them that radio is the best option for them. Some examples of Mid-Stage Content include:
- Where to Advertise: A Look at the Strengths and Weaknesses of Different Local Advertising Mediums
- The Role of Radio in a Successful Advertising Campaign
- A Guide to Allocating Your Advertising Budget
You should require people to fill out a short form before they can access your Mid-Stage Content. However, this does not mean that these people are ready to receive a call from your sales team. Instead, you may want to nurture these leads by emailing them links to your Late Stage Content.
3. Late Stage Content
Late Stage Content is for potential clients who have decided that they want to advertise on radio, and now they need to figure out which radio station is right for them. These are the most qualified leads you can find. Put your Late Stage Content behind an online form, and have your sales team follow up every form submission with an immediate (5 minutes or less*) phone call. Examples of Late Stage Content could include:
- Ten Questions to Ask Your Radio Sales Rep Before Your Purchase Ads
- A Brief Guide to Understanding Radio Ratings
- How to Write an Effective Radio Ad
Notice that the Late Stage Content doesn't try to convince potential clients that they should purchase your station. That is the job of your sales team. Instead, Late Stage Content is designed to tell you when people are close to making a purchasing decision. This is the ideal time for your sales department to step into the process. If you use the internet to engage people in the early stages of the buying cycle, and reserve your sales team until the late stage, your sales team will have higher quality leads to work with, and their closing rate will increase.
Use the Sales Marketing Team to Promote Your Sales Content
There's no guarantee that potential clients will progress through the different stages of content in the expected order, so your Sales Marketing Team should be driving prospects to all three types of content. More importantly, they should be measuring the number of leads that each piece of content produces, as well as the quality of those leads. While the Programming Marketing Team is measured on ratings, the Sales Marketing Team is measured by the number of quality leads they produce for the sales team; it is their job to keep a steady stream of leads coming in.
Free your salespeople up to work on the leads that are most likely to close: Create a Sales Marketing Team.
*Yes, I said "five minutes or less."