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Tales Of Radio Sales Success From NAB Show.

Carla Leible, Jenna Miller, Pierre Bouvard, Erica Farber

Radio sales and research execs shared client success stories, from pest control services to HVAC companies, last week at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Taken together they provide more evidence of how radio can move the needle for clients when bought with sufficient weight, and how radio is best positioned as a consultative marketing service for local businesses.

Who Needs An Agency?

A client in the growing home services category was the focus for Jenna Miller, General/Integrated Sales Manager for Cox Media Group’s Tampa cluster. In 2015, an agency brought in an HVAC business, buying a schedule on a couple of its stations. Obviously pleased, the client dropped the agency two years later and began dealing directly with CMG. “That really opened up a lot of doors for the rep to be able to sell all of our radio stations to the client and say, ‘You're missing all of these other audiences by not purchasing our other stations,” Miller explained. Now the client uses all six stations in the cluster and employs custom creative. The rep later convinced them to use CMG as their digital agency, handling display, social and digital streaming. The result: the client’s gross revenue shot up 60% in eight years. “It's just a great story about how if you have the right marketing rep calling on a client and really taking a consultative view… it can turn into a really terrific long-term client,” Miller said.

‘I Want To Be Like Steve's Pest Control’

Carla Leible, General Manager, Zimmer Communications, relayed the success of Steve’s Pest Control, which started buying time on its smallest station 23 years ago. After Zimmer convinced the client they should be investing 7% of revenue each year in marketing, its business took off in a big way. “He started out with one service vehicle, now he's up to 93 trucks,” Leible said. Steve’s Pest Control expanded its ad buys from one station to all ten Zimmer stations in mid-Missouri. The broadcaster also helps him buy radio in other markets, along with digital services, and handles all of the creative. Added Leible, “We have clients that call us now and say, ‘I want to be like Steve's Pest Control.’”

Erica Farber, President and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau who moderated the discussion, noted, “It doesn't matter what market size you're in, how big your staff is, success creates more success. And nothing can position what we do better than people who are succeeding at using it.”

Knocking It Out Of The Park

Success stories like these help bring new business to radio groups in local markets. But in the national ad marketplace, it typically takes a research study to close the deal. Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus Media/Westwood One, presented the results of a “faceoff study” conducted by Nielsen with a large home improvement retailer. It examined the sales effect of the retailer’s national TV and radio buy for one month by matching Nielsen meters at the household level to the credit cards in that household. The study looked at the difference between consumers that were exposed to the campaign and those that were not exposed. During the month-long campaign the retail chain invested about $10 million apiece in radio and TV. The campaign drove “significant growth in what's called penetration, or adding new customers,” Bouvard explained. Among those only reached by the radio campaign there was a 13% increase in sales. TV-only and radio and TV together each delivered a 4% increase. “The radio folks really drove the sales,” Bouvard said. “For every dollar on radio, they got $28 of incremental sales lift, less so on TV. This is hard evidence that shows radio knocked it out of the park.”

Other takeaways from “Radio Works – Positioning Radio in 2023”:

  • Have a valid business reason for requesting a meeting with a prospect, such as we can help solve your recruitment challenge.

  • Be persistent. CMG Tampa uses a nine-step process over a 10-day time period to secure a meeting. “Little touches every day lead eventually to a big payoff,” Miller said.

  • Be patient with national business. Said Farber, “From the first time you have a call with a client or a meeting, it can take approximately 18 months to have it turn into some kind of financial renumeration. So it is a very long process nationally.”

  • Do your homework. CMG’s Tampa cluster has a research division that conducts market studies and custom studies. “Being able to take that data and say, ‘This is what we're showing in your category in Tampa Bay and this is how best to reach that audience,’” Miller said. “And once they get a taste of that and see that data, they get super excited.”

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