Radio sales professionals seem to have more opportunities than ever to
serve a client’s advertising needs. From terrestrial signals and in-dash data
displays to podcasts and online streams, numerous new revenue opportunities are
making salespeople adapt.
Erica Farber. ‘Our challenge as radio
professionals is getting our arms around the measurability of all the listening
going on across different devices.’
Of course, that also means more monthly
goals to hit.
Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau, sees
this digital era as the start of a new cycle in radio sales. She’ll be a
visible presence at the upcoming NAB Show and the neighboring RAIN Summit West,
dedicated to the topic of Internet radio.
Farber’s professional career is stacked with radio experience in sales,
management and publishing. She now has been at the helm of the RAB for
approximately a year, and says her first 12 months have buoyed her enthusiasm
for radio and how it can help advertisers.
“Advertisers and agencies still see radio as a very strong medium. From
a listening standpoint we know that over 92 percent of all Americans are
listening to radio during the week. Advertisers continue to use radio as a
means to reach consumers,” she said.
Interestingly, with all of the choices available to advertisers, radio still
receives about the same percentage of advertising budgets as it always has,
“But now with radio available on so many multiple platforms, we provide
an even better solution to advertisers to reach customers. Our challenge as
radio professionals is getting our arms around the measurability of all the
listening going on across different devices,” she said.
“At the same time, our sales story is
changing dramatically. No longer do we go into clients to speak about
individual radio stations, we now bring an integrated marketing approach to an
GROWTH OF MOBILE
Broadcasters must still push forward to get their product on as many
devices as possible, Farber said, then figure out how to monetize the variety
“The strategies to do that seem to vary
greatly from company to company. The focus for most is still on the broadcast
signal revenue, and that is totally understandable. But at the same time we are
seeing stations develop a strategy for social, online and develop strategies
for in car.
“There are more and more apps
available, from iHeartRadio to TuneIn.There isn’t one single strategy. It seems each company is looking at
their audience and looking for ways to respond to fit that audience.”
Mobile marketing — advertising delivered to mobile devices held in the
hand — is a fairly new platform that is available to broadcasters.
“We need to maximize that platform. The technology is allowing radio to
do so much more with content. Whether it is contesting, video or couponing, it
all helps radio get that much closer to its consumers.”
Despite the addition of multiple platforms, the frustration of most
radio sellers remains the same: simply getting in the door.
“People are busy and people are time-starved,
so getting that face to face time with the client is difficult sometimes, but
it is critical of course to get that appointment. The other issue is coming up
with actionable marketing plans and concepts that will help that advertiser
move the needle,” she said.
“Understanding what it is the customer wants to do and then bringing
them some specific ideas to help them is the challenge. Businesses are
bombarded today with so many different media options. You have to be smart,
efficient and timely.”
WE ARE RADIO
Farber reminds broadcasters that “radio is radio” and that they should be
consistent when referring to their product.
“We should refer to the product how listeners
refer to the product. We don’t need to deem it ‘terrestrial’ radio. In fact, it
was the satellite radio creators that started calling us terrestrial, to pit
them against us; and then some within broadcasting adopted that term.
“We should be proud to call ourselves local radio,” Farber said. “And we
should be flattered that so many of our competitors are also calling themselves
RAB’s revenue forecast for 2013 is for
overall growth in U.S. commercial radio revenue of just under 1 percent, Farber
said. “I would like to see consistency develop. We are starting to see some
digital growth. We’d like to see that needle move even higher.”
(Subsequent to this interview, RAB reported that in 2012, overall
revenue grew 1 percent, including 8 percent growth in digital revenue from
online, streaming and HD Radio. Radio’s fourth quarter saw a 4 percent uptick
Audience measurement of radio consumption, across all platforms, is
going to be crucial to radio’s future growth, she said.
“We must be able to measure the consumption of our products on all
levels in all situations, in order to truly present a solution to an
Farber is a member of the board of directors at Arbitron. (She referred questions
about the rating company’s pending sale to Nielsen to Arbitron officials.)
Farber’s focus in her first year at RAB has been on identifying the
group’s “touch points” with its membership and invigorating the industry. She
sends e-mail updates called RAB@work; and a re-launch of rab.com will coincide with NAB 2013, she said.
“We have a new communications plan. We are enhancing training products
and services and increasing the number of touch points, including refocusing on
the Radio Show this fall.” The sales organization, with approximately 7,000 members,
will continue to offer a variety of radio sales workshops and webinars.
Farber believes radio selling remains a
very strong career option for young professionals.
“This is the best time to get into radio
selling. Radio still has a connection in the local market place. We need to
make sure it remains a satisfying career, with stability being one of the keys.
We can compete against technology companies and startups for good sales people,
but we need to compensate young people coming in other fields,” Farber said.
needs to find people who are young, energized and understand technology.”