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Creating a Great Marketing Plan Around The Army-Navy Game

Jason Barrett

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If the opportunity presents itself in the future, do yourself a favor and take in the Army-Navy game. It’s an experience you’ll remember and it’s one of those games that makes you feel great about living in the United States of America.

army4Ironically, I live twenty minutes from West Point and have had the chance to attend numerous Army football games during the course of my lifetime. But the energy level and big game feel that exists when Army and Navy battle on a football field is very different. Even if you’re not a big college football fan, you can’t help but get caught up in the excitement.

The game itself went down to the wire (Navy won 21-17), and produced a number of twists and turns to keep everyone on their feet, but there was a media angle which stood out and I thought it was worth sharing with you in this column.

content-mattersOften in sports radio, we’re tasked as programming teams to create excitement for a sponsor who’s spending good money with the company and wants to be involved in the content. Programmers get defensive when they hear that because the product is what the audience tunes in for and when bad/forced content enters the mix, listeners leave. If your main job responsibility is to generate ratings, it’s difficult to sign off on accepting content on your airwaves that is going to negatively impact your numbers.

However, the real reason why ratings matter is because they’re used to help station’s make money, and reps have one job to do too – add revenue! A rep is not going to admit that their suggestion is flawed or that an idea is bad when they see dollar signs and I can’t blame them for that. They’re human and trying to fatten their wallet and maintain stability with their employer.

But, they also shouldn’t be surprised or upset with the programmer, when they try to maintain the brand’s integrity, grow ratings and do what’s best for the audience. A good rep won’t be afraid to say no or direct a client towards a different path, but many salespeople are so concerned about hitting their monthly budget that they’ll grab the money, run, ignore the details, and try to repair the damage afterwards.

pizzaI remember being in a situation where one of my former morning shows agreed to do some work with a national pizza chain. As part of the partnership, they’d read LIVE endorsements, make a monthly appearance at three local establishments, and then film a video at one of the locations where they were taught how to make pizza. The client also bought recorded commercials, website and social media ads and text message sponsorships.

Sounds simple right? Well, not exactly!

The client kept pushing the rep for more, after the deal had been agreed to, and the rep was so worried about losing the business that they threw in a sponsorship of the station’s mobile app for free for three months.

But that once again wasn’t enough.

pizza2The client threatened to pull the sponsorship unless the station agreed to have the morning show go out on a one-day delivery run which would be promoted on-air, online and on text. I spoke to the morning crew and shared the dilemma with them and because they were good guys who were willing to try and keep clients invested in the brand, they agreed to do the delivery day to try and save the sponsorship.

Next, we agreed on the local towns where the guys would do their deliveries and on the day of the event, the local stores had their phones ringing off the hook. Business was up 30-40% for the day and we felt the promotion was a success.

Except, the client was once again, not satisfied.

This time, they were not willing to give us credit for their growth because the orders came in by phone and in towns where they already were performing well. They wanted some of their less successful locations to see an increase in activity, and they only wanted to count orders that were placed through the order button on the mobile app. None of this was communicated to me or the morning team prior to the promotion from the rep or the client.

At this point I was frustrated. I sat down with the rep and our national sales manager to ask how much money was being generated with the sponsorship and what their plan was to gain control of the account. The amount we charged was below expectation and their was no plan in place to get on the same page with the client.

enoughGuess what happened next? You guessed it, the client called and threatened to pull their business again. Except this time, they’d consider staying on board if the morning show did another delivery appearance in a town of their choosing.

I knew the client was taking advantage of the situation, and our rep was fearful of standing up to them, so I chose to protect my guys and the product, and decline to do anything further until a meeting was held with all involved.

The client wasn’t interested in meeting and when they pressured our rep to give in or risk losing the account, including this time having our guys do the delivery day in their own vehicles in a bad part of town, I declined and we had to walk from the business.

moneyRather than sticking up for myself, our people, and the brand, and reeling in the client, the rep and sales manager got ticked off at the programming team and pushed our boss to make a decision on the situation. They could only see the money in front of them, not the process or effectiveness of the campaign or the way that it had created a divide with the programming department. Luckily our GM was aware of the situation and ruled that the client had to be dealt with differently and offered something else or it would be passed along to another rep.

I share this story because it’s a classic case of not managing the client’s expectations and not working with them to create the right game plan. The client didn’t understand how to use the radio station and its people to increase their business and by being unwilling to listen to how to use the product properly, and not receiving the right direction from the rep, it cost them time, money and results.

IMG_6767How that applies to this article is simple. If you watched the Army-Navy game on television, listened to it on radio, witnessed it in person at the stadium, or read about it anywhere online or on social media, you couldn’t avoid seeing USAA as the game’s sponsor. They did an outstanding job of “owning” the game without interfering with it.

What does USAA do? They proudly serve millions of military members and their families with competitive rates on insurance, banking and investment services.

Seems like a great natural fit right? Well, it is!

usaa4The company understands their target audience, and by sponsoring this game, they’ve positioned themselves well to reach the people they’re after. From the field to the stadium signage to the ticket stubs, everything about the game had USAA involved in it, but they never got in the way of the actual event.

During the radio row event on Friday and Saturday, every radio station host that I spoke with, was not only excited to be there, but felt it was a positive association for their station and show. They mentioned it being one of their favorite trips of the year because unlike the Super Bowl, they didn’t feel pressured to accept guests who’d take away from the show’s direction. An all you can eat Fogo De Chao dinner on Friday night and post-game party at Xfinity LIVE on Saturday night also made them feel important and appreciated.

zuckerMuch of that credit goes to Jimmy Shapiro and Dan Zucker of the Zucker Media Group who have worked with USAA for the past few years to create the event. Jimmy and Dan have a background in sports radio so they recognize what hosts, producers and the audience are looking for, and that allows them to work with USAA to create a great situation for everyone.

USAA also deserves some praise because they respect Zucker’s judgment and follow their lead on creating a great radio experience. That willingness to listen, led to WFAN, WIP, KNBR, WFNZ, WBAL,  KFAN, KJR, Mighty 1090, Arizona Sports 98.7FM, 104.3 The Fan, 105.3 The Fan, 106.7 The Fan, 104.5 The Zone, SiriusXM, Yahoo Sports Radio, Sports Byline, ESPN Las Vegas and ESPN San Antonio ALL broadcasting from the event this year.

army314 of the top 25 markets were present, along with three national networks, and the locations targeted were not only established sports radio brands with good ratings and established audiences, but they were also in areas with strong military representation. That’s smart targeting by Zucker Media and USAA.

By having each of those brands broadcast from the event, and making the trip worthwhile, it tells the station’s programmers that they can trust the organizers to do a quality job. When you earn trust with operators, it goes a long way towards developing a strong long-term relationship.

usaa3Not only did USAA receive coverage on some of the top performing stations in the country, but they helped their own image by having people like Roger Staubach, John Feinstein, Sal Paolantonio and Kirk Herbstreit promote the game on their behalf. When those type of personalities spin the message for them, it makes the content more memorable and less likely to be rejected by the audience. If USAA was asking brands to put on the company’s local insurance reps to promote the game, it’d be a very different story.

In evaluating the sponsorship, USAA found a fit that aligns perfectly with their company objectives. Every association with this game benefits them well, including the title “America’s Game“! That’s an easy line for the audience to recall and promote.

When you have a great product and connect it with a sponsor which has a natural fit and understands how to benefit from the association, this is the kind of success that can follow:

  • Over 69,000 in attendance for the game
  • The highest television ratings for the Army/Navy game in nearly two decades
  • An increase in television ratings for the game for the fifth consecutive season
  • Radio promotion on 23 radio shows and 3 national networks on Friday and Saturday
  • The top trend on Twitter including social promotion from numerous high profile personalities

armynavyThe Army-Navy game and USAA partnership has paid great dividends because everyone understands the objective and how to promote the game. The company realizes that the campaign is built from awareness and positive association, and the star of the promotion is the game itself.

Because USAA doesn’t try to get in the way of the game and simply uses it as a way to further brand themselves, they’re well received. This makes people more likely to look to them when needs arise in their lives.

As a customer of USAA myself, I was impressed with their approach. Every piece of media had their name attached to it and when a company develops a solid reputation and connects themselves to other quality programs, it reflects good judgment and makes you feel good about supporting them.

It was evident that a lot of time, thought and creativity went into the marketing campaign for this game and because of it, USAA will see their business grow. Hopefully the members of that pizza chain were taking notes.

Under The Radar:

Seth Everett filled in for 790 The Ticket in Miami this past Saturday. No word yet on whether or not he will appear again on the radio station.

Jim Bowden is doing less hosting on SiriusXM’s MLB channel. Bowden’s ESPN responsibilities have kept him busy during the MLB off-season. Former MLB Closer Brad Lidge and former MLB OF/IB Cliff Floyd are stepping in for Jim this week with Casey Stern.

After ESPN 105.5 exited the format last week, don’t expect Denver sports radio leader 104.3 The Fan to go unchallenged for long. Look for another competitor to emerge real soon. An announcement could come as early as next week.

Barrett Blogs

Barrett Sports Media To Launch Podcast Network

“We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July.”

Jason Barrett

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To run a successful digital content and consulting company in 2022 it’s vital to explore new ways to grow business. There are certain paths that produce a higher return on investment than others, but by being active in multiple spaces, a brand has a stronger chance of staying strong and overcoming challenges when the unexpected occurs. Case in point, the pandemic in 2020.

As much as I love programming and consulting stations to assist with growing their over the air and digital impact, I consider myself first a business owner and strategist. Some have even called me an entrepreneur, and that works too. Just don’t call me a consultant because that’s only half of what I do. I’ve spent a lot of my time building relationships, listening to content, and studying brands and markets to help folks grow their business. Included in my education has been studying website content selection, Google and social media analytics, newsletter data, the event business, and the needs of partners and how to best serve them. As the world of media continues to evolve, I consider it my responsibility to stay informed and ready to pivot whenever it’s deemed necessary. That’s how brands and individuals survive and thrive.

If you look at the world of media today compared to just a decade ago, a lot has changed. It’s no secret during that period that podcasting has enjoyed a surge. Whether you review Edison Research, Jacobs Media, Amplifi Media, Spotify or another group’s results, the story is always the same – digital audio is growing and it’s expected to continue doing so. And that isn’t just related to content. It applies to advertising too. Gordon Borrell, IAB and eMarketer all have done the research to show you where future dollars are expected to move. I still believe it’s smart, valuable and effective for advertisers to market their products on a radio station’s airwaves, but digital is a key piece of the brand buy these days, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

Which brings me to today’s announcement.

If you were in New York City in March for our 2022 BSM Summit, you received a program at the show. Inside of one of the pages was a small ad (same image used atop this article) which said “Coming This Summer…The BSM Podcast Network…Stay Tuned For Details.” I had a few people ask ‘when is that happening, and what shows are you planning to create?’ and I kept the answers vague because I didn’t want to box ourselves in. I’ve spent a few months talking to people about joining us to help continue producing quality written content and improve our social media. Included in that process has been talking to members of our team and others on the outside about future opportunities creating podcasts for the Barrett Sports Media brand.

After examining the pluses and minuses, and listening and talking to a number of people, I’m excited to share that we are launching the BSM Podcast Network. We will start with a few new titles later this month, and add a few more in July. Demetri Ravanos will provide oversight of content execution, and assist with production and guest booking needs for selected pods. This is why we’ve been frequently promoting Editor and Social Media jobs with the brand. It’s hard to pursue new opportunities if you don’t have the right support.

The titles that will make up our initial offerings are each different in terms of content, host and presentation. First, we have Media Noise with Demetri Ravanos, which has produced over 75 episodes over the past year and a half. That show will continue in its current form, being released each Friday. Next will be the arrival of The Sports Talkers Podcast with Stephen Strom which will debut on Thursday June 23rd, the day of the NBA Draft. After that, The Producer’s Podcast with Brady Farkas will premiere on Wednesday June 29th. Then as we move into July, two more titles will be added, starting with a new sales focused podcast Seller to Seller with Jeff Caves. The final title to be added to the rotation will be The Jason Barrett Podcast which yours truly will host. The goal is to have five weekly programs distributed through our website and across all podcasting platforms by mid to late July.

I am excited about the creation of each of these podcasts but this won’t be the last of what we do. We’re already working on additional titles for late summer or early fall to ramp up our production to ten weekly shows. Once a few ideas and discussions get flushed out, I’ll have more news to share with you. I may consider adding even more to the mix too at some point. If you have an idea that you think would resonate with media professionals and aspiring broadcasters, email me by clicking here.

One thing I want to point out, this network will focuses exclusively on various areas of the sports media industry. We’ll leave mainstream sports conversations to the rest of the media universe. That’s not a space I’m interested in pursuing. We’ve focused on a niche since arriving on the scene in 2015 and have no plans to waver from it now.

Additionally, you may have noticed that we now refer to our company as ‘Barrett Media’. That’s because we are now involved in both sports and news media. That said, we are branding this as the BSM Podcast Network because the titles and content are sports media related. Maybe there will be a day when we introduce a BNM version of this, but right now, we’ve got to make sure the first one works right before exploring new territory.

Our commitment to delivering original industry news, features and opinions in print form remains unchanged. This is simply an opportunity to grow in an area where we’ve been less active. I know education for industry folks and those interested in entering the business is important. It’s why young people all across the country absorb mountains of debt to receive a college education. As valuable as those campus experiences might be, it’s a different world once you enter the broadcasting business.

What I’d like to remind folks is that we continue to make investments in the way we cover, consult, and discuss the media industry because others invest in us. It’d be easy to stockpile funds and enjoy a few more vacations but I’m not worried about personal wealth. I’m focused on building a brand that does meaningful work by benefitting those who earn a living in the media industry or are interested in one day doing so. As part of that process I’m trying to connect our audience to partners who provide products, services or programs that can benefit them.

Since starting this brand, we’ve written more than 18,000 articles. We now cover two formats and produce more than twenty five pieces of content per day. The opportunity to play a small role in keeping media members and future broadcasters informed is rewarding but we could not pay people to edit, write, and host podcasts here if others didn’t support us. For that I’m extremely grateful to those who do business with us either as a consulting client, website advertiser, Summit partner or through a monthly or annual membership. The only way to get better is to learn from others, and if our access to information, knowledge, relationships and professional opinions helps others and their brands, then that makes what we do worthwhile.

Thanks as always for the continued support. We appreciate that you read our content each day, and hope to be able to earn some of your listenership in the future too.

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5 Mistakes To Avoid When Pursuing Media Jobs

“Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.”

Jason Barrett

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I recently appeared on a podcast, Monetize Media, to discuss the growth of Barrett Media. The conversation covered a lot of ground on business topics including finding your niche, knowing your audience and serving them the right content in the right locations, the evolution of the BSM Summit, and why consulting is a big part of our mix but can’t be the only thing we do.

Having spent nearly seven years growing this brand, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what’s worked for us, and it starts with vision, hard work, consistency, and a willingness to adapt quickly. There are many areas we can be better in whether it’s social media, editing, SEO, sales, finding news, producing creative original content or adding more staff. Though there’s always work to be done and challenges to overcome, when you’re doing something you love and you’re motivated to wake up each day doing it, that to me is success.

But lately there’s one part of the job that I haven’t enjoyed – the hiring process. Fortunately in going through it, I was able to get to know Arky Shea. He’s a good guy, talented writer, and fan of the industry, and I’m thrilled to share that he’s joining us as BSM’s new night time editor. I’ll have a few other announcements to make later this month, but in the meantime, if you’re qualified to be an editor or social media manager, I’m still going through the process to add those two positions to our brand. You can learn more about both jobs by clicking here.

Working for an independent digital brand like ours is different from working for a corporation. You communicate directly with yours truly, and you work remotely on a personal computer, relying on your eyes, ears and the radio, television, and internet to find content. Because our work appears online, you have to enjoy writing, and understand and have a passion for the media industry, the brands who produce daily content, and the people who bring those brands to life. We receive a lot of interest from folks who see the words ‘sports’ and ‘news’ in our brand names and assume they’re going to cover games or political beats. They quickly discover that that’s not what we do nor are we interested in doing it.

If you follow us on social media, have visited our website or receive our newsletters, you’ve likely seen us promoting openings with the brand. I’ve even bought ads on Indeed, and been lucky enough to have a few industry folks share the posts on social. We’re in a good place and trying to make our product better, so to do that, we need more help. But over the past two months, Demetri Ravanos and I have easily done 50-60 calls, and it’s been eye opening to see how many mistakes get made during the hiring process.

Receiving applications from folks who don’t have a firm grasp of what we do is fine. That happens everywhere. Most of the time we weed those out. It’s no different than when a PD gets an application for a top 5 market hosting gig from a retail employee who’s never spoken on a microphone. The likelihood of that person being the right fit for a role without any experience of how to do the job is very slim. What’s been puzzling though is seeing how many folks reach out to express interest in opportunities, only to discover they’re not prepared, not informed or not even interested in the role they’ve applied for.

For instance, one applicant told me on a call ‘I’m not interested in your job but I knew getting you on the phone would be hard, and I figured this would help me introduce myself because I know I’m a great host, and I’d like you to put me on the radar with programmers for future jobs.’ I had another send a cover letter that was addressed to a different company and person, and a few more applied for FT work only to share that they can’t work FT, weren’t interested in the work that was described in the position, didn’t know anything about our brand but needed a gig, were looking for a confidence boost after losing a job or they didn’t have a computer and place to operate.

At first I thought this might be an exclusive issue only we were dealing with. After all, our brand and the work we do is different from what happens inside of a radio or TV station. In some cases, folks may have meant well and intended something differently than what came out. But after talking to a few programmers about some of these things during the past few weeks, I’ve been stunned to hear how many similar horror stories exist. One top programmer told me hiring now is much harder than it was just five years ago.

I was told stories of folks applying for a producer role at a station and declining an offer unless the PD added air time to the position. One person told a hiring manager they couldn’t afford not to hire them because their ratings were tanking. One PD was threatened for not hiring an interested candidate, and another received a resume intended for the competing radio station and boss. I even saw one social example last week of a guy telling a PD to call him because his brand was thin on supporting talent.

Those examples I just shared are bad ideas if you’re looking to work for someone who manages a respected brand. I realize everyone is different, and what clicks with one hiring manager may not with another, but if you have the skills to do a job, I think you’ll put yourself in a better position by avoiding these 5 mistakes below. If you’re looking for other ways to enhance your chances of landing an opportunity, I recommend you click here.

Educate Yourself Before Applying – take some time to read the job description, and make sure it aligns with your skillset and what you’re looking to do professionally before you apply. Review the company’s body of work and the people who work there. Do you think this is a place you’d enjoy being at? Does it look like a job that you’d gain personal and professional fulfillment from? Are you capable of satisfying the job requirements? Could it potentially put you on the path to greater opportunities? If most of those produce a yes, it’s likely a situation to consider.

Proofread Your Email or Cover Letter and Resume – If the first impression you give a hiring manager is that you can’t spell properly, and you address them and their brand by the wrong names, you’re telling them to expect more mistakes if they hire you. Being detail oriented is important in the media business. If this is your introduction to someone and they have a job you’re interested in, you owe it to yourself to go through your materials thoroughly before you press send. If you can have someone else put an extra set of eyes on your introduction to protect you from committing a major blunder even better.

Don’t Waste People’s Time – You’d be annoyed if a company put you through a 3-4 week process only to tell you they didn’t see you as a viable candidate right? Well, it works the other way too. If you’re not seriously interested in the job or you’re going into the process hoping to change the job description later, don’t apply. If the fit isn’t right or the financials don’t work, that’s OK. Express that. People appreciate transparency. Sometimes they may even call you back in the future when other openings become available. But if you think someone is going to help you after you wasted their time or lied to them, trust me, they won’t.

Don’t Talk Like An Expert About Things You Don’t Know – Do you know why a station’s ratings or revenue is down? Are you aware of the company’s goals and if folks on the inside are satisfied or upset? Is the hiring manager someone you know well enough to have a candid professional conversation with? If the answers are no, you’re not helping your case by talking about things you don’t have full knowledge of. You have no idea how the manager you’re talking to has been dealing with the challenges he or she is faced with so don’t pretend you do. Just because someone wrote an article about it and you read it doesn’t mean you’re informed.

Use Social Wisely – Being frustrated that you didn’t get a job is fine. Everyone goes through it. Asking your friends and followers for advice on social of how you could’ve made a better case for yourself is good. That shows you’re trying to learn from the process to be better at it next time. But taking to social to write a book report blasting the hiring manager, their brand, and/or their company over a move that didn’t benefit you just tells them they made the right move by not bringing you in. Chances are, they won’t be calling you in the future either.

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Would Local Radio Benefit From Hosting An Annual Upfront?

Jason Barrett

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How many times have you heard this sentence uttered at conferences or in one of the trades; radio has to do a better job of telling its story. Sounds reasonable enough right? After all, your brands and companies stand a better chance of being more consumed and invested in the more that others know about them.

But what specifically about your brand’s story matters to those listening or spending money on it? Which outlets are you supposed to share that news with to grow your listenership and advertising? And who is telling the story? Is it someone who works for your company and has a motive to advance a professional agenda, or someone who’s independent and may point out a few holes in your strategy, execution, and results?

As professionals working in the media business, we’re supposed to be experts in the field of communications. But are we? We’re good at relaying news when it makes us look good or highlights a competitor coming up short. How do we respond though when the story isn’t told the we want it to? Better yet, how many times do sports/news talk brands relay information that isn’t tied to quarterly ratings, revenue or a new contract being signed? We like to celebrate the numbers that matter to us and our teams, but we don’t spend much time thinking about if those numbers matter to the right groups – the audience and the advertisers.

Having covered the sports and news media business for the past seven years, and published nearly eighteen thousand pieces of content, you’d be stunned if you saw how many nuggets of information get sent to us from industry folks looking for publicity vs. having to chase people down for details or read things on social media or listen to or watch shows to promote relevant material. Spoiler alert, most of what we produce comes from digging. There are a handful of outlets and PR folks who are great, and five or six PD’s who do an excellent job consistently promoting news or cool things associated with their brands and people. Some talent are good too at sharing content or tips that our website may have an interest in.

Whether I give the green light to publish the material or not, I appreciate that folks look for ways to keep their brands and shows on everyone’s radar. Brand leaders and marketing directors should be battling daily in my opinion for recognition anywhere and everywhere it’s available. If nobody is talking about your brand then you have to give them a reason to.

I’m writing this column today because I just spent a day in New York City at the Disney Upfront, which was attended by a few thousand advertising professionals. Though I’d have preferred a greater focus on ESPN than what was offered, I understand that a company the size of Disney with so many rich content offerings is going to have to condense things or they’d literally need a full week of Upfronts to cover it all. They’re also trying to reach buyers and advertising professionals who have interests in more than just sports.

What stood out to me while I was in attendance was how much detail went into putting on a show to inform, entertain, and engage advertising professionals. Disney understands the value of telling its story to the right crowd, and they rolled out the heavy hitters for it. There was a strong mix of stars, executives, promotion of upcoming shows, breaking news about network deals, access to the people responsible for bringing advertising to life, and of course, free drinks. It was easy for everyone in the room to gain an understanding of the company’s culture, vision, success, and plans to capture more market share.

As I sat in my seat, I wondered ‘why doesn’t radio do this on a local level‘? I’m not talking about entertaining clients in a suite, having a business dinner for a small group of clients or inviting business owners and agency reps to the office for a rollout of forthcoming plans. I’m talking about creating an annual event that showcases the power of a cluster, the stars who are connected to the company’s various brands, unveiling new shows, promotions and deals, and using the event as a driver to attract more business.

Too often I see our industry rely on things that have worked in the past. We assume that if it worked before there’s no need to reinvent the wheel for the client. Sometimes that’s even true. Maybe the advertiser likes to keep things simple and communicate by phone, email or in-person lunch meetings. Maybe a creative powerpoint presentation is all you need to get them to say yes. If it’s working and you feel that’s the best way forward to close business, continue with that approach. There’s more than one way to reach the finish line.

But I believe that most people like being exposed to fresh ideas, and given a peak behind the curtain. The word ‘new’ excites people. Why do you think Apple introduces a new iPhone each year or two. We lose sight sometimes of how important our brands and people are to those not inside the walls of our offices. We forget that whether a client spends ten thousand or ten million dollars per year with our company, they still like to be entertained. When you allow business people to feel the excitement associated with your brand’s upcoming events, see the presentations on a screen, and hear from and interact with the stars involved in it, you make them feel more special. I think you stand a better chance of closing deals and building stronger relationships that way.

Given that many local clusters have relationships with hotels, theaters, teams, restaurants, etc. there’s no reason you can’t find a central location, and put together an advertiser appreciation day that makes partners feel valued. You don’t have to rent out Pier 36 like Disney or secure the field at a baseball stadium to make a strong impression. We show listeners they’re valued regularly by giving away tickets, cash, fan appreciation parties, etc. and guess what, it works! Yes there are expenses involved putting on events, and no manager wants to hear about spending money without feeling confident they’ll generate a return on investment. That said, taking calculated risks is essential to growing a business. Every day that goes by where you operate with a ‘relying on the past’ mindset, and refuse to invest in growth opportunities, is one that leaves open the door for others to make sure your future is less promising.

There are likely a few examples of groups doing a smaller scaled version of what I’m suggesting. If you’re doing this already, I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up through email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com. By and large though, I don’t see a lot of must-see, must-discuss events like this created that lead to a surplus of press, increased relationships, and most importantly, increased sales. Yet it can be done. Judging from some of the feedback I received yesterday talking to people in the room, it makes an impression, and it matters.

I don’t claim to know how many ad agency executives and buyers returned to the office from the Disney Upfront and reached out to sign new advertising deals with the company. What I am confident in is that Disney wouldn’t invest resources in creating this event nor would other national groups like NBC, FOX, CBS, WarnerMedia, etc. if they didn’t feel it was beneficial to their business. Rather than relying on ratings and revenue stories that serve our own interests, maybe we’d help ourselves more by allowing our partners and potential clients to experience what makes our brands special. It works with our listeners, and can work with advertisers too.

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