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June 23, 2011 – 2:01 pm | No Comment

MatchLink is a singles dating network that served the radio industry for many years. The Evanston, Illinois company Spark Network Services provided an IVR-based dating service to radio stations. Radio listeners called a phone number and paid to interact with other singles through a sophisticated voice mail system. Payment was made through credit card or a 900 number. Some stations were earning a half million dollars per year with the service.

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Radio's Local Search for New Revenue

March 19, 2011 – 10:02 am | 3 Comments

By Eric Corwin
Impact Target Marketing

There’s some light at the end of radio industry’s tunnel. More advertisers are coming back to radio now. Rates are beginning to stabilize and in many cases beginning to rise. But we as industry have much work to do to in order to uncover the real opportunities that exist in our new digital world.

Some Broadcasters have Found New Revenue Solutions

Some broadcasters are seeking revenue solutions that are somewhat non-traditional to help support their return back to relative revenue stability: revenue sales seminars, social media prospecting and prospect generation to produce more new leads for their sales staffs. Most however, continue to hold a misplaced arrogance about their belief that all the answers reside within the walls of their respective broadcast group. I would say to anyone who is willing to listen that the answers to radio’s revenue challenges exist, for the most part, outside the confines of their group.

Searching for a New Revenue Stream

Let’s get right to it. The number one solution for radio to support a new revenue stream is local search. The connection between local search and local radio is seamless but few, very few, groups see the opportunity. Radio is a branding medium, that we know, that creates awareness for its advertisers and given the right creative can drive immediate business for its clients. Buyers of products don’t seek out radio to help them make a buying decision. In the past, they looked to yellow page directories and now online local search when they are in the process of making a buying decision. Local radio and local search together offer small and medium businesses a powerful local marketing solution. So why doesn’t radio take advantage of this opportunity? We know why, because radio decision makers on the station level either have no power to make a decision or no time to research opportunities that present themselves. When they do, most are gun shy because those that stick their heads out to offer a solution most often get their heads chopped off.

Local Search is Hot and Radio is not—Yet

Let’s take look at these figures and you’ll see that local search is an area that radio can take advantage of if we open ourselves to this opportunity.
• 41% of consumers say they use a location in their search – “dentist in Chicago”
• Yet only 9% of small businesses are happy with their internet marketing
• 73% of all online activity is related to local content (Google)
• 66% of Americans use local search to find local businesses (Comscore)
• 54% of Americans have replaced phone books with internet and local search (Comscore)
• 82% local searchers follow up with call/walk in etc. (TMP / Comscore)
• 43% of search engine users are seeking a local merchant with the intent of buying offline

Local Search Means More Revenue for Radio

Local search is the buzz word. You are much more likely to speak to a business owner about local search than you are about radio. Local search is quantifiable and business owners know this and are therefore interested in finding out more about it. Local radio can create a new revenue stream by incorporating local search as part of its product offerings and do so without creating more work for its present sales staff. In fact local search can open doors previously closed to radio and drive more traditional advertising revenue as a result. To learn more click here now.

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Hail to the Spammer in Chief: Where Obama Went Wrong

August 25, 2009 – 7:30 am | No Comment

E-Mail Masters Stumble on Health Care but Offer Lessons for Marketers

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) — Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, one of the few things about Barack Obama’s presidential campaign that was hard to criticize was its use of e-mail and database marketing. But in the past few weeks, Mr. Obama’s team has gone from a digital-marketing case study to being regarded as a lowly spammer.

White House senior adviser David Axelrod sent an e-mail touting the administration’s embattled health-care-reform plan to thousands of people who apparently hadn’t asked to be contacted. Was it an innocent mistake on the part of the administration? A Machiavellian stunt pulled off by opponents of health-care reform? Or an act of desperation mixed with some hubris on the part of the administration in an attempt to push its plan on as many citizens as possible?

Zain Raj, CEO of Havas’ Euro RSCG Discovery, said he doesn’t believe it was an innocent mistake; the Obama team simply acted like many major brands do.

“The [administration] has become so arrogant about the amount of trust and credibility they have with their constituents, they think they can take advantage,” he said. “They forget who they are serving, and that’s what has happened with the brand Obama. When the campaign was building the brand, it was part of a movement, but now it’s become part of the establishment.”

Mr. Raj said part of the reason that happened is the absence of the marketing professionals who brought a tightness and focus to the campaign’s messaging. “The behaviors seemed to parallel the rhetoric. Since they got into power, there has been a fundamental shift happening in their approach,” he said.

Placing blame
Steve Cone, chief marketing officer at Epsilon, said there is no upside for the administration in just spamming people. “I wouldn’t assume they did this intentionally,” Mr. Cone said. But he said the White House could be guilty of assuming that those who subscribed to the updates signed up their friends only after asking permission to do so.

“In their ongoing e-mails, [the administration] asks that you get as many people involved as possible,” Mr. Cone said. “They assume you will ask permission before signing your friends up, and that’s clearly not practical. If they’re guilty of something, perhaps that’s what they are guilty of.”

But Stuart Ingis, partner at Venable, a leading consumer-protection, marketing and advertising law firm, said he doesn’t think the administration is guilty of anything; this is simply democracy at work.

“If elected officials can’t communicate with the public through whatever channel to make their case on important issues, that’s a real problem for our democracy,” Mr. Ingis said. “The question we need to ask before we talk about whether … people don’t want to receive these [e-mails] is whether this type of communication should be frowned upon. And I believe quite to the contrary.”

Mr. Ingis said the administration should be allowed to send out e-mails to citizens, but if people say they don’t want to receive them, the administration should respect that.

“The law is to honor a choice when it’s offered,” he said. “It doesn’t violate the CAN-SPAM Act, because that applies to commercial e-mail and this isn’t commercial e-mail. It’s not violating any laws.”

Fueling flames
Whether it’s breaking any laws or not, Margie Chiu, exec VP-strategic services at WPP’s Wunderman, said it doesn’t look good for any marketer using e-mail if the administration is seen as a spammer. “Something like this makes it more difficult for us, because there’s already such a distrust of e-mail and spam,” Ms. Chiu said. “And an incident like this fuels that mistrust.”

She also said the White House handled the aftermath very poorly by not taking the blame.

In the wake of “Spamgate,” two things happened. First, the White House issued a statement laying the blame for the snafu at the feet of “outside groups of all stripes” who may have added the disgruntled recipients to the e-mail list without their knowing, and apologized in a roundabout way, saying: “We regret any inconvenience caused by receiving an unexpected message.” It also shut down its e-tip box, which was being used to collect misinformation or “fishy” allegations about the administration’s health-care plan. John Cornyn, a Republican senator from Texas, alleged that Mr. Obama was using the e-tip box to collect names, a claim White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs later denied.

“It was really bad form,” Ms. Chiu said. “In general, whether or not it was a third party, the fact is that they need to own up to it and be accountable for something that came from their delivery system. Blaming a third party is just not great form.”

But Euro’s Mr. Raj said the Obama administration, like other brands that have stumbled before it, will make the necessary adjustments. “For every big brand, there’s an event that shakes them,” Mr. Raj said. “The Obama brand is going through that, and my hope is they learn from that and don’t continue to deflect to somebody unnamed, because that’s the political way. I hope they learn, like all good brands do, that it’s better to listen to our customers vs. not.”

Keeping the faithful
How to maintain a direct e-mail relationship and not breach consumer trust:

Be cautious of treating your database as a homogeneous group. While they clearly have a shared interest, there are very likely strong differences as well. A database needs to be analyzed and organized to really unleash its full potential.

Protect and maintain the perception that records are being kept private at all costs, and repeatedly remind your database of the things you’re doing to ensure that.

Be prepared to quickly reply to questions or comments people in your database e-mail back to you.

Convey real news or offers, and don’t smother people with e-mails just because you can. Always have a real reason for contacting them. Ideally, you could do a short survey to find out how frequently they want to be contacted.

Make yourself stand out by knowing your competitors and what they’re offering. Bring something different to the table. There has to be a value exchange, whether it’s information-, entertainment or offer-based.

By Michael Bush
Published: August 24, 2009
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Radio's Local Search for New Revenue

March 19, 2011 – 10:02 am | 3 Comments
Radio's Local Search for New Revenue

he number one solution for radio to support a new revenue stream is local search. The connection between local search and local radio is seamless but few, very few, groups see the opportunity. Radio is a branding medium, that we know, that creates awareness for its advertisers and given the right creative can drive immediate business for its clients.

How Does Your Website Rank Against Your Competion?

May 26, 2009 – 10:45 am | No Comment
How Does Your Website Rank Against Your Competion?

How Does Your Website Rank Against Your Competion?
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May 26, 2009 – 10:31 am | No Comment
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