Thank You, Radio
May 10, 2016
Being in Radio has taught me so much. I could literally never repay, or give enough thanks to, those who I worked with, those who hired me, or the companies that I have worked for over the years. So I'll just say a simple "Thank You." You know who you are.
Radio Management, Sales, and Programming training gives you an unfair advantage versus competitors in just about anything you might want to do in life. Because we have a product that is free to the consumer and paid for by the advertiser, you have to be beyond a good marketer, because brand loyalty is so difficult to cultivate and maintain on multiple levels.
The most difficult is the marketing challenge of "free" to the user. Think of it. A "free" product to consumers that someone can switch away from in an instant for something better that is also "free." It requires the greatest of all product development because, to a listener, you cost nothing and can therefore be abandoned in a second. It's the most incredibly difficult challenge ever. If you can do THAT successfully, and entice a consumer (who pays nothing for your service) to stay with your free service, you can do anything successfully.
What you find outside of radio is extremely refreshing and awesome. The biggest difference is that no one thinks like we do in radio programming - meaning strategically. Even though I have literally hundreds of examples of this that I have actually tracked and written down (for when I write that book someday), I'll give you one very easy advantage today that I enjoy from my radio training: The art of building, using, and applying research to make something - anything -- happen.
RESEARCH FOR GRANTED
In radio, research is as common as the air we breathe; we take it largely for granted. We wouldn't think of playing music that doesn't test. But other than political polling, it's not really common out in the real world. I literally loved working with the researchers in radio. You researchers out there are the key to all success in my mind.
If you can "take in" what the researchers are trying to tell you (in their own special way ... LOL), and successfully process their sometimes "mad-professor" information, you can produce any level of success that you want. I spent a lot of time in radio figuring out how to distill what they were saying so as to make it actionable and boil it down to understandable concepts. Right there is the key to research.
Out in the real world, every single day, concepts are launched, owners of businesses live in the blind about their competitors, about their products, about their advertising targets, about where and how they are positioned within the market, or with their target consumer. It's really mind numbing how many small businesses are shooting totally in the dark, going on what "they like" and hoping to hit something that resembles a customer, wasting tons of money on unfocused, non-strategic advertising and a totally scattered business approach.
You know we would never operate a business that was not strategically positioning its products. At our Property Management company, we are contacted by an owner of an Oceanfront condo that has always been rented out to vacationers. The owner of the property wants to do better. If he can't, he is going to have to SELL the unit because he can no longer afford to float the unit out of his own bank account.
He's negative cash flow every year and has to do better. We sit listening to his approach. It's all wrong. In radio terms he has one of the best signals in town, yet decides to play stiff after stiff, followed by an unfamiliar song, bad personalities, and then too many commercials. The audience is running away as fast as they can.
Last year this condo he owns did $12,000 in Gross rental income for the year. He wonders how our units do over $50,000 per year each. He joins on with us, we become his management company. You should have heard his surprised reaction when we sat down at the first meeting after he signed his agreement -- and we actually explained to him how we would launch his unit.
First thing, before we do anything else, will come our Perceptual research project. His exact response is "What's that?" He looks dazed and confused. Prior to now, every other company would simply come in and take his money, list his property, and make $12,000 a year for him, using what "they" thought was right for his product.
Our team will be working like a strategic radio company coming into a marketplace for the first time doing a "Format Finder" perceptual project. He doesn't quite understand it yet, but what we are about to do is figure out what he owns, what he could own as a series of images, what the guests want, and align his marketing to ONLY what guests want. Forget about what he or we want. I am only concerned about what the paying guests think today, what images are open to capture, and what the guests will think tomorrow.
We build and field a questionnaire to answer all issues, thereby guaranteeing his success. We basically change his format, targeting a new audience, re-position his competitors, stealing their business, as well as growing shares to the new condo. All simple stuff to those of us from Radio. We've done it a hundred times. But it's a completely foreign concept to this condo owner, who fancied himself "pretty smart" in the real estate game. I may as well have been speaking a foreign language as I laid out the game plan.
We tap into the audience who rents beach condos. We ask overreaching questions about the area, about rates, about seasons. We drill into his competitors to identify problem areas. What are they doing wrong? What are they doing right? What dissatisfaction can we attack? What images do his competitors own? Which does he own? What is the size of the market? How much can he get for rates? Which images are low penetration, or not "owned" by anyone along the beach, and are therefore "up for grabs"? We answer everything. Now we are ready to re-shape his product and re-launch it.
UP UP, AND AWAY
We attack the low unaided recall of his area first. Nobody knows how good his building is. Once we have raised his "Cume," then we move to extend his "TSL," through loyalty and return guests, who, knowing what a great experience it was, are willing to pay a little bit more each year. Repeat guests flow in as "TSL" increases. New guests jump over from competing units as our "Cume" grows. It's all the same stuff as radio.
It's not fair. Year one he jumps from $12,000 to $64,000 in Gross Rental Income on his one unit. A 533% increase. Suddenly he is hugely cash flow positive, and now is looking to buy additional units and re-thinking his entire future strategy of ownership. And all we did was to apply simple, basic radio training to an everyday, average, normal issue. Imagine that.
We do laugh about it. How easy can you get? Just by using the concepts taught to us by various radio scenarios we faced through the years. But there are even more challenges, so it is good and will cause us to grow even more. We should have paid for that radio education. And this is just one of the 100 things that radio has taught me.
BE A CAREER PROBLEM-SOLVER
We have always said that our mission in our career is to be professional, paid problem-solvers. Problems equal profits. Believe me, there is no shortage of problems out there for you to solve. Likewise, you solve a problem for someone, and they will pay you money to do so. No matter what your background is, you can learn from it and apply your knowledge elsewhere.
By thinking strategically, and applying what you have learned that actually works, you too can be as successful as you would like to be in any endeavor in your life in the future. This is just a small example that is my experience. You can read the other 99 Benefits of working in radio when you buy the book, LOL.
Be a sponge. Enjoy life. Collect as much learning as you can. You never stop learning. You never stop growing. Every situation you find yourself in is just another learning experience to be used again to climb a more important, future hill. Use what you have learned to help others. Everyone has a mission on this planet. Find yours and get to work!