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Grow! by Paul Martin

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Helping buyers in a recession

"It's really hard to get a buyer's attention anymore." "Buyers seems to study things a lot longer than they used to." "My buyers are purchasing--but not buying from me as often." I've heard a lot of concerns like this from the sales teams I coach. Then I caught Scott Albro, CEO of Tippit--a technology sales research firm, on a webinar "Buyer Behavior in a Recession". (I like to check out the technology sales world since they seem to have a lot more sales research available and the principles really work well for commercial and non-commercial radio.) The webinar is worth the 30 minutes. Tippit research shows buyers have changed during the recession--and these changes appear to be permament, so we better get used to the new reality of working with prospects and customers. Here are a few things they discovered and some of the implications I can see for radio sales: Scarcity of Attention It is harder than ever to get a prospect's attention. They're harder to get on the phone. They're harder to get to return ...

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Social Conflict

How can up really be down? The Up Part: Nielsen Online says that social networks and member communities grew their reach to exceed e-mail. Social networks score an active reach of 66.8% while e-mail expanded its reach to 65.1%. Social networking saw Time Spent Viewing increase dramatically in the past year. Sounds like member networks are the social thing to do. The Down Part: But take a look at the marketing impact of these media. IDC found that 43% of social network users never clicked on ads, and only 11% of those who did actually purchased anything. Those who don't use social networks clicked on ads at least once per year and 23% bought something. So Econsultancy and R.O.EYE (my vote for current favorite business name) found e-mail marketing to be very cost-effective for customer acquisition. Very cost-effective Quite cost-effective Not cost-effective E-mail marketing 51% 3 ...

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Donor-funded radio and its listeners

So what is the effect of technology on radio listening to Christian formatted radio stations? Jacobs Media recently released the Public Radio Technology Survey 2008 for its formats AAA, AAA/News, Classical, Classical/News, Jazz/News and News. The survey showed that more of the public radio audience listens to radio daily (88%) than views TV daily (74% than reads an online or print newspaper daily (75%). What of these key findings from the survey resemble Christian formatted radio? Public Radio listeners are very committed to….Public Radio. Television takes more of a backseat as a daily medium for entertainment and information. Internet use is somewhat generational, but hi-speed access is nearly ubiquitous. Public Radio listeners are tuned into the news, as three-fourths (75%) say they read a daily newspaper – print or online. Satellite radio plays a role in the overall media usage spectrum, but is far from a mass appeal outlet. Only one in ten (12%) currently sub ...

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What happens when the spots come on - The impact of commercials on the radio audience

While on a station visit a while back, the program director proudly mentioned that the station's new jingle package was being sung just as we were heading to lunch. I asked what would be his new positioning with the new set of jingles. He actually sang it to me: "Non-commercial 89.3...WZZZ". I couldn't believe my ears! He is a VERY smart programmer. He also has an incredibly creative promotion mind. But I knew I really needed to say something. "So, what's the listener benefit?" He replied, "That we are non-commercial." "That's certainly a feature of the station, but 2 questions: Is that WHY people tune to you? Does the jingle align with the benefit that your listeners receive?" This extremely bright programmer stopped, looked at his cell phone and began dialing. "Hey, Jim. Have you sung our package yet? How about if we sang..." And the research shows he was right to change the jingle package. The personal people meter is showing listeners' behavior rather than a recollection of behavio ...

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If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door

If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door.

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If your product or service isn't relevant, price doesn't matter

If your product or service isn't relevant, price doesn't matter. During economic turbulence, relevance matters even more--to listeners and to businesses. Few businesses understand the importance of branding when sales are low. The business' priority is growing their sales. So to get the attention of the business, show them a one-hop way of making a sale that ties to your station promotion. A one-hop method basically means that the business person doesn't have to be very imaginative or very patient to see how their investment in the promotion will return dollars. During a recession, time is limited and cash is limited. So to be relevant, a station representative must show a quick way to return cash. During times of plenty, prestige can mean more so cash returns can slow a bit--but the promotion can't require too much imagination or patience from the business. Whether a schedule of underwriting, commercial announcements or a promotion, station business development re ...

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The Frogs and the Tower

“I think it’s more essential to innovate through a recession, and certainly what we’re trying to do at P&G is to continue to bring sustaining and even disruptive new brands and products for our consumers, to make their lives better, to offer them a little more value.” A.G. Lafley, Chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble In What do these three products have in common?, I mentioned that Andrew Razeghi, adjunct associate professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University wrote a provoking white paper on innovation. Razeghi encourages seven points to implement in times like these: Listen to the market. It’s quieter when it’s less crowded. Unmet needs abound. Invest in your customers. Now they need you most. Loyalty hangs in the balance. Rather than reduce price, offer more value to your customers and demand greater value from vendors. Increase communication with your customers. Move longer-term projects forward ...

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The Bible Belt takes it up a notch

One aspect of Gallup's State of the States study is the importance of religion. Over 65% of all Americans say religion is an important part of their daily lives. As far as nations go, that's a pretty big number. "At least half of the residents of all but four states (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts) say religion is important in their daily lives." Forty-six states--including some notably liberal states--show that more than half of their residents affirm the importance of religion in their life. Granted, the study says "religion"--not a relationship with Jesus--so this doesn't necessarily connote Christian followership, but it is a reasonable assumption that Christianity comprises far and away the largest component. In a study several years ago, researchers at Notre Dame discovered that there are actually two Bible Belts. As best as I can recall, one of the belts runs from Lubbock, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia (along I-20), continuing north on I-95 to about Richmond, Virginia. The second be ...

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FCC: Not a real football fan (sindication, part two)

Another pair of cases released this week from the FCC Enforcement Bureau show that programming from a third party can certainly get a station in trouble if embedded announcements do not comply with underwriting regulations. The case against WFCO radio shows that the Commission isn't really amused with college football. The Capital Crusaders won 11 games in 2006, but WFCO lost every game it broadcast. The FCC found 20 announcements that were clearly impermissible advertisements. The case stems from the 2006 college football season--and the FCC posted the Notice of Apparent Liability in February, 2009--that's over two years later! The announcements appear to be embedded in the football games that were produced by a third party and broadcast on WFCO--a non-commercial educational radio station. In addition, the station didn't have a regular review process that would catch missteps so the FCC didn't see any reason to mitigate the penalty. The takeaway: Even if the program originates from another source (high ...

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Non-Commercial Radio and Syndicated (or sin-dicated) Programming

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission posted three enforcement actions for non-commercial educational radio stations regarding impermissible underwriting announcements. Two of these cases reinforce the responsibility of the station licensee for everything it broadcasts--even if another organization created the programming. In the Jones College notice of apparent liability, a program called "Swing Time" was provided by an outside programmer. Although the station received no monetary compensation from the programmer or the underwriters, only the program. The FCC deems the programming itself as compensation (think 'barter syndication') and the announcements must then comport to the regulations. Simply put: the FCC holds the station responsible for compliance with every announcement--regardless where the program was produced. The program included eight underwriting announcements that are clearly out-of-bounds. Some of the the announcements were 60 seconds long. The commission noted: "Although the C ...

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