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Sports Radio Can Be The Search Engine In B2B Marketing

“Sports stations’ ability to deliver B2B results is one of my favorite format attributes, and creating opportunities for new connections for businesspeople is critical for employee and C-level buy-in.”

Jeff Caves

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Recently, I met a salesperson for a computer networking, cabling, and communications business. He defined his target market as any business that needs data, cabling, and computer network installs. It’s a pure Business to Business play.

He added that his boss told him they were starting an ad campaign to generate leads and excitement for the company. He was pleased with that as he wanted to feel supported by his company in helping him create leads. He spends most days making cold calls and would appreciate a warm landing once in a while when a prospect says they have “heard about you.” 

When he was told about the ad campaign, he lost his enthusiasm. The boss bought radio. FM music radio. JACK FM – one of those “we play anything” adult hits formats. 

The salesperson thought that the company would be buying Google search ads, and he would soon have an inbox filled with leads. He knew the pay-per-click initiative was, at times, a capital-intensive effort, but what did he care? He wanted leads!

When he was told they were doing commercials for branding purposes on the radio- he lost any enthusiasm that he was being supported. He surprised me that he understood more about radio than I thought when he said the boss should have purchased an all news, news/talk, or all sports station. He didn’t feel supported by his company. He just thought they were sold down the river. I don’t believe this salesperson will be supportive of the radio campaign. And, let’s face it, how many solid leads do you think will be generated by branding commercials on an FM music station?

If the boss had met with a sports radio seller, he could have been sold a play-by-play package with the local MLB or NFL team that gave the company access to tickets for client entertainment. The company would then be invited to several station-hosted events at the stadium, where the salesperson could meet other station clients. He could skip his coffee networking session with the chamber that week and watch a baseball game instead.

The point here is don’t forget all the opportunities you offer as an all sports seller. Sports stations’ ability to deliver B2B results is one of my favorite format attributes, and creating opportunities for new connections for businesspeople is critical for employee and C-level buy-in.

We may not be Google and sell direct access to people who are searching “computer networking companies near me” but we can provide access to prospects. C-level executives’ sports fandom is a common thread we offer to build and cement new business relationships. We may not all agree on politics or religion, but who doesn’t love the town’s local pro or college team?

Our format is the bridge to business conversation. We are the glue that brings decision makers and salespeople together. Give access to what you have, be it pro or college teams, big games, or any NTR event where you have sold several businesses. BE the search engine.

BSM Writers

Draymond Green Has Developed an Absolutely Perfect Gimmick

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Draymond Green
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I mean that as a compliment not a criticism. That’s because I’m using the term “gimmick” as it’s used in professional wrestling. There it describes a performer’s persona, how they distinguish themselves in the eyes of the audience. A gimmick can refer to the costume, a specific prop, such as a guitar or just the overall attitude. A gimmick is essentially the wrestler’s act, the thing they do to capture an audience’s attention, which is the only truly meaningful measurement in pro wrestling. You don’t necessarily need the audience’s their approval, but you absolutely need their attention. They must be engaged.

In pro-wrestling terms, Draymond Green has been working the “New Media” gimmick over the past month to great success. He has EVERYONE’S attention whether it’s Skip Bayless challenging Green to a debate, Chris Russo complaining about Green on “First Take” or Brian Noe pointing out earlier this week that Green seems to break his own criteria for what constitutes the “New Media.”

This is an absolutely brilliant bit of marketing by Green. Seriously. He has an identity for his brand, defining both what it is — centered on basketball expertise — and what it is not, which is criticism of a player unrelated to specific actions on the court. He has really created a faction, going so far as to name other people who are part of the New Media, and defining quite explicitly who is not (cough, cough Skip Bayless cough, cough). Green has created what is a mission statement in spelling out what exactly the New Media is.

“The New Media, it’s very simple,” he told Stephen A. Smith during a live show that included JJ Redick and Tony Alter. “It’s actually analyzing the game of basketball. It’s actually giving those flowers when flowers are due. It’s being critical. It’s not just saying, ‘Ah man, Steph Curry was great! and when he wasn’t great I’m not going to speak on it.’ Be very critical But tell us the whole truth, and break down why Steph Curry wasn’t great.”

Green then gave an example of what would not meet his criteria for the New Media.

“Don’t just tell me, ‘Steph Curry was bad, he was terrible, his legacy is going to be hurt and all that,’ “ Green said. “But why was he terrible? Can you explain that to me? Can you help me, the average fan, can you help me understand what you’re saying. I think that’s been lost, and what has replaced it is titles and headlines and hot takes for click bait.”

Now Green believes — quite adamantly — that this is how everyone should approach analyzing basketball. I think he’s dead wrong about that. I think there are lots of different approaches that can be effective, some of which have nothing to do with the mechanics of the game. However, the fact that Green believes his way is the absolute best way is exactly the kind of conviction you need on the air. He has a clear vision of not only what kind of content he wants to produce, but why he’s the best person to produce that content.

Green’s content is going to be rooted in the game of basketball. More specifically, it’s going to be rooted in the modern player’s understanding of that game. It’s not about rumors or drama or off-court relationships. It’s basketball. At least that’s how Green spells it out.

Now, anyone who has listened to or watched Green for any extended period of time knows that he’s not exactly rigid about following these guidelines. He makes insinuations, he passes judgment and he responds to critiques that have nothing to do with the actual mechanics of playing basketball. In fact, I would say that he might spend more time criticizing people for failing to adhere to the New Media approach — as he’s described it — as he does following the New Media approach himself.

But here’s a dirty little secret about that: it doesn’t really matter. Not in this business. You can change your mind on a subject frequently — as Colin Cowherd tends to do — or you can remain adamant about the inadequacies of a specific player despite two decades of evidence to his greatness as Skip Bayless has done with Lebron James. You can swear you’ll only talk about the actual game of basketball and spent half your time criticizing the people who don’t talk about basketball. The only criteria is whether people are engaged.

And people are engaged with Green. This month, the man had people watching him play in the NBA Finals, then listening to a podcast he recorded after the game. And the week after his team won its fourth championship in eight seasons, he was on his podcast explaining why he didn’t think Bayless had the resume to warrant appearing on The Draymond Green Show. In doing so, he was elevating his own brand.

“The New Media is here to stay,” he said. “And we taking this thing over, and you know why? Because people don’t want to hear that old, dried up, tired stuff that you’re talking about. Nobody wants to hear that no more. The new media, baby”.

“There’s a reason JJ Redick is going on TV and crushing everybody. There’s a reason they keep calling Patrick Beverly back to TV. There’s a reason why C.J. McCollum just signed that deal. There’s a reason why I signed the deal that I signed. There’s a reason why this podcast —The Draymond Green Show — is doing the numbers that it’s doing.”

That sounds like something a pro wrestler would say, doesn’t it? Again, I’m not being critical, that’s a compliment. He’s absolutely great, and he’s working the invasion gimmick so well that it’s reminiscent of the nWo. Green’s part of a stable, a faction. He’s listing them by name.

Hell, Green is talented enough he could probably put on a headband, dye his mustache blonde like Hulk Hogan did after he joined the nWo. That would be really committing to the gimmick, however.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Big Ten Media Emergency

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri is flying solo this week in an Emergency Podcast about UCLA and USC making the jump to the Big Ten. What does it mean to FOX? What does it mean to rights negotiations for both the Big Ten and the PAC-12?

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BSM Writers

Keep Up With Inflation By Increasing Sales Package Prices

Jeff Caves

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Inflation Arrow

The long-running conclusion is that the rates increase when the demand heats up on a radio station. But, how about when our cost-of-living increases? Don’t we deserve an earning increase to combat inflation?

Of course we do, but it doesn’t always have to come from higher rates but bigger asks. We find ourselves in just that position right now. Keep this in mind: WE need to make more money too-not just the station owners! I wrote last week that selling radio isn’t just all about making money. But, it’s still essential for most of us to provide for ourselves and our families. So, with inflation running at around 8% for most things we need to buy to live, we have to keep up.

So, I maintain that whether or not your manager is rolling out a price increase, we need to roll out a raise in our asks for our income. Yes, a price increase on inventory for specific clients will help increase your billing. Charging higher prices to new clients, seasonal clients, or those you have the best relationship with shouldn’t be too difficult.

But, the renewing client who spends the same amount of money with us and compares pricing from year to year and station to station will be difficult. There is no way around it. But we must remember that if we spend more each month, we must make more or make changes. The price of ground beef is 16% higher than last year, home and apartment rents have risen approximately 25% or more, and it costs $25 more to fill gas in a fifteen-gallon tank than the previous year. 

Let’s just up our asks.

For example, if the average monthly order for a direct local client is $1500 and you get paid a 20% commission, that $300 you earn isn’t going as far anymore. So, to be safe and keep up with inflation, you need to earn at least 10% more on every order. It is time to adjust your $1500 proposals to $1650 and start making $330 per $1650 monthly order. If you have 15 local direct clients monthly billing an average of $1650 per month, not $1500, your commission will go from $4500 to $4950.

The next thing to do is figure out what to add to those orders that excite you and add value to the client. You could add ten-second liners around paycheck times; a few am/pm drive commercials at the end and beginning of the month, and a social media post or website feature.

Radio sales consultant Alec Drake, a yield and revenue management guru amongst other things, advocates that to raise rates, salespeople should not lead with that but instead, put it at the backside of the sales process. I like Drake’s idea of bundling on-air, digital, and event assets to make the proposal comprehensive and minimize the rate details. I believe that when we look at the result of what we offer, it doesn’t matter how we get there rate by rate. Drake also suggests the classic good, better, and best proposal strategy with different investment levels as options tied to varying rates in a schedule.

Please give yourself a raise and keep up with the cost of living you deserve. 

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