Tuesday, November 10, 2009
What Happens If You Do Nothing? Loyd Ford
Well, there’s nothing wrong with that unless that is all you do.
In today’s economy, it is more important than ever to be efficient. You want to be the person on the team that showcases how to save the company money, but you also don’t want to be someone who is only interested in saving money. Why? Because companies that only save money produce less and decay over time. They fall apart.
You know the word decay. Your dentist used to tell your mom that if you only ate candy all the time, your teeth would rot. The same is true when a business of any kind works to cut costs all the time without an eye on quality, customers and growth.
Some radio managers believe you can pause or stop spending in areas like programming, marketing, research and contesting. Let’s face it. They are right. You can stop all those things for a temporary period of time.
However, just because you can does not mean you should.
You’ve seen examples of some brands that have “paused” marketing and lost share. Some have “fallen out” of the market and had to be re-launched or reformatted.
If you’ve cut your engines that determine product value and growth, how much damage has been done to your brand? How much more recession have you had because your product isn’t worth what it was 6 months ago? What is the value of time without investment in growth potential?
As an industry, we warn others that they must invest in growth or they won’t have any. What makes radio any different?
Coming out of the recession gives broadcasters the opportunity to gain market share and add revenue dollars vs. competitors. In order to do this, right-size investment in the pillars of growth are needed. The era of cuts and consolidation are passing away. This may not be as dramatically seen because of recession we have all unwillingly participated in over this last period of time, but the time is coming when the monster shift brought on by consolidation will again begin to move radio stations. Only this time, monster consolidation won’t be the order of the day. A new era will develop. While this does not mean you won’t see more job losses and you won’t see managers attempt to save additional dollars, it does mean you will start to see the smart operators want to take advantage of this fresh environment where lead can change. Brands that have suffered over the last two years have a unique opportunity to gain advantage in 2010 if they invest in the basic elements that propel growth.
Most of us know the phrase “This is a football” uttered by Vince Lombardi. We all know that business moves in cycles. The current cycle is ending and a new one is developing. If you are working in radio today, you must move to take advantage of the new cycle and protect yourself and your own value now.
In many markets across the U.S. radio has benefited from consolidation and the use of public money (just look at the buildings). However, the value of broadcast radio has always been people. It is probably the biggest overused phrase in radio, but “our people are our most valuable asset.”
Now is the time to evaluate how we have done on with our people and reinvest in our people. Now is the time to evaluate brands and properties and invest in their growth with right-sized strategies that include “finding what the people want and giving it to them.” As a part of that, you must also consider the ways you use external marketing to produce value that turns into direct dollars for your radio station, cluster and company.
Here’s to the new era developing for broadcast. While radio has in many ways taught listeners over the consolidation era to have lower expectations about us, radio can still innovate and should refocus on the basics that make it so attractive in the first place. Those elements that make radio unique are the keys to defining and driving new sources of revenue for the 21st Century based upon key performance and value of the brands we give to our local communities.
Here’s to the innovators coming on deck now to reestablish the power of local radio.
Loyd Ford is the ratings and marketing strategist for Americalist Media Marketing. Americalist has been helping radio stations boost ratings with the use of both strategic direct mail and live and recorded telemarketing since 1987. They develop market exclusive strategies (including The Magnet Program™ for PPM, FastCUME Tactic™, viral e-mail and the above mentioned telemarketing and direct mail along with social networking recommendations to increase the value of your brand to listeners and generate more dollars for your station, cluster and company). While Loyd has a long background in day to day programming in medium, small and large markets across the U.S., his focus at Americalist is providing custom strategies based upon your needs and your set of circumstances and market. You can contact Loyd at 877-475-6864 or Americalist1@aol.com, or check out www.boostmyratings.com. You can also join the free “Social Networking for Radio Stations” group on Facebook to learn more about social networking and what stations are doing now to increase their value and boost ratings.