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Diversified Digital Offerings Seen As Crucial To Radio’s Growth In 2021.

With GroupM estimating more than half of all U.S. ad dollars now go to digital, radio operators are redoubling efforts to capture a larger share of the digital advertising and digital services pie. Efforts are focused on building out technology stacks, hiring dedicated digital sales teams and training existing sellers on how to develop multichannel marketing campaigns for clients, say industry leaders contacted by Inside Radio for our annual Outlook series.

“Digital growth is a key revenue initiative for Cumulus Media, says CEO Mary Berner, where the company’s C-Suite digital products offering is a top priority. “We continue to ramp up our digital campaign solutions and marketing services,” she says. “And we have focused on cross-company digital sales training so our local, national, and network sales teams are all poised to effectively sell our integrated digital solutions.”

As the share of dollars being allocated to traditional media goes down and digital continues to rise, having a diversified menu of digital solutions to offer clients is seen as essential for driving growth. “Consumers have more options than ever to digest their favorite audio content,” says Entercom Chief Revenue Officer Bob Philips. Among the touchpoints the company offers to connect marketers with consumers are OTT, display, social media, mobile, RDS in-dash messaging, streaming and podcasting. “We lean heavily on data and analytics through all of these capabilities, leveraging a full suite of attribution modules to measure and optimize the effectiveness of the campaigns we execute,” Philips says.

Townsquare Media generates an outsized portion of its revenue from digital – 44% during third quarter 2020 – thanks in part to its subscription-based Townsquare Interactive (TI) digital agency, which is the company’s largest digital revenue contributor. “In 2021, we are continuing to build out our sales and client services team to manage our expanding client base and to attract new clients,” says COO, Local Media Erik Hellum. “In our local markets, we continue to hire and train digitally savvy managers and salespeople, and quickly arm them with the training they need to be successful selling the Townsquare suite of products.” The company says it expects the combination of TI and Townsquare Ignite, which sells digital programmatic advertising, to help it continue to grow its digital market share this year.

Like Townsquare, Hubbard Radio was an early adopter in the digital space, launching its 2060 Digital full-service digital agency in 2012. “Now, every Hubbard Radio market has dedicated digital strategists and staff, and all of our sellers are skilled in building multichannel marketing campaigns for our clients,” says Senior VP of Digital Sales Strategy Steve Goldstein.

Beasley Media Group is using a three-pronged approach to attract a larger share of the 55% of ad dollars forecast to go to digital in 2021, according to VP of Sales Tina Murley. First is continuing to build out the company’s digital agency, so that it can provide the digital services and products advertisers need. Beyond just its owned and operated platforms, this includes offering a larger portion of third party digital products. No. 2 is focusing on multiple revenue sources and solutions that will allow the company to sell non-radio products to non-radio advertisers – both inside and outside the markets it operates in.

“We are building out a dedicated digital sales team to drive new digital business from non-radio clients while continuing to work with our integrated sellers to offer a one stop shop for clients looking for multi-media marketing solutions,” says Murley. Last but not least is providing all sellers with digital training resources. Part of that comes from tapping the training expertise of its digital partners. “We’re implementing tools to enable sellers to respond more quickly to sales opportunities and focus on more comprehensive campaigns vs. selling the ‘shiny new thing,’” says Murley.

Read 2021 Outlook - part one, HERE.

Read 2021 Outlook - part two, HERE.

Read 2021 Outlook - part three, HERE.

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