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Going for the Gold

August 11, 2016

It’s nice to change our focus for a while from the murky waters of the current political election cycle to the, ahem, murky waters that face the Olympic athletes in Rio de Janeiro. But hopefully, radio stations across the country – particularly those with a sports format – geared up for their share of the gold in terms of ad dollars.

As special events go, the Olympics is certainly a great opportunity to gain some additional advertising revenue, but it also only occurs once every other year. The challenge is to identify and maximize event opportunities that are ongoing and profitable.

Of course, radio demonstrates great success linking annual, cyclical events and marketing dollars. Back-to-school shopping, holiday advertising, and summer vacation-oriented ads come to mind. But beyond these reliable yearly money makers, where else should radio be focusing?

First of all, let’s take a look at what’s currently standard – live remotes and concert tie-ins. By taking advantage of what’s already in place, radio stations are well-positioned to boost their revenue share. In an Advertising Insider article (How Events Are Playing A Larger Role In The Radio Industry), it stated, “…events create more marketing opportunities for clients, as well as additional lines of revenue for the station… Radio stations sell event sponsorships that can be used to bring in new revenue and help their clients integrate their other marketing efforts, blending radio and digital initiatives for maximum exposure.”

And yes, while this is something that many stations are currently integrating into their marketing plans, is this being fully maximized? At the time the Advertising Insider article was written (November 2015), it noted, “Studies show that event revenue accounted for one of every ten dollars the radio industry booked last year.” That is significant cash – money you don’t want to leave lying on the table.

In addition, the article listed a wide range of business categories that radio stations can tap into to increase their bottom line, from staging and video production companies, alcohol and food vendors, a wide array of wireless and live mobile businesses to even Port-O-Potties. Clearly, any company that is part of the event in any capacity offers an opportunity to grow sales.

Another key to accessing additional sales prospects is in integrating all available sponsorship platforms. A Media Partners article (Radio Frequency: Partnerships Between Stations And Properties Grow In Importance And Number) states, “Radio stations’ need to develop non-traditional revenue vehicles is driven by growing demands from advertisers for integrated marketing programs that go beyond 30-second spots to offer opportunities to interact with consumers.”

You might have noticed that the concept of integration keeps popping up. That’s no accident. Media Partners further points out that, “…radio stations are increasingly incorporating web sites, text-message promotions, email blasts, and other digital elements into their property partnerships and their offerings to sponsors.”

So how can you apply this to your station and your market? First of all, identify the events, festivals, and/or shows that are important in your area. Your station is probably already involved in many of them. However, as the research shows, there are always additional avenues of growth within these categories. Have you fully explored the clients, advertisers, partnerships, sponsorships and demographic groups that attend/plan these events? Which businesses have you previously overlooked that could lead to increased revenue? What media platforms are you using? Are there extra tie-ins that would benefit your station/your clients?

Yes, those are a lot of questions. And they’re not all easy to answer. But after you have answered them, you should be in a better position to expand your station’s potential to win a gold medal in the advertising marathon.

-Barbara Krebs, Quality Assurance