Tag Archives: The Wizard of Ads

Are We the Solution or the Problem?

albert-einsteinAlbert Einstein said “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

I have noticed that when I publish a new article about radio, people seem to fall into a couple of different camps. There are those who say radio’s days are numbered, or over. There are those who think going back to the way it was will solve everything. And there are those who believe “radio” is a concept and not a specific transmission platform, such as the AM or FM bands.

WABC Becomes Talk Radio

In May of 1982 Music Radio 77 – WABC in New York City became a talk radio station. Music sounded better on FM and in stereo than on static filled, mono AM radio. This happened 37-years ago and yet many of us tune in to Rewound Radio every Memorial Day Weekend to listen to WABC, the way it was when we were growing up in the 60s & 70s.

WPLJ is Sold

WABC-FM became WPLJ on February 14, 1971 and by September of that same year it would become one of America’s first AOR (Album Oriented Rock) radio stations.

“Watching All the President’s Men on TCM…thought it might be timely. Loved the reference when Bernstein asked Woodward “if you’re listening to the radio and you don’t hear any commercials for 10 minutes, is it AM or FM?” Kinda sums up the demise of music radio on AM back in the 70s and strongly underlines what’s happening to FM now compared to satellite radio, Pandora, Spotify, etc.” 
–John Sebastian

Now WPLJ has been sold and like a divorce, WABC and WPLJ will no longer be together. Frank D’Elia writes a wonderful personal history of WPLJ on his blog which you can read HERE.

Sadly, he ends his blog article with the following: “I loved the radio business, and it was my home for over 44 years, but today, radio sucks!”

The World Wide Web Turned 30 This Past Week

While it was 37 years ago that the music died on WABC, it was 30 years ago this past Wednesday, that Sir Tim Berners-Lee proposed a global linked information management system that included hypertext. Even more interesting is the fact that Sir Berners-Lee feels a little bit like Frank D’Elia and the current state of his creation. In an article published on the World Economic Forum website titled “The web is 30 years old. What better time to fight for its future?” Sir Tim shares his frustrations and recommendations for fixing things. He writes: “To tackle any problem, we must clearly outline and understand it. I broadly see three sources of dysfunction affecting today’s web:

  1. Deliberate, malicious intent, such as state-sponsored hacking and attacks, criminal behaviour, and online harassment.

  2. System design that creates perverse incentives where user value is sacrificed, such as ad-based revenue models that commercially reward clickbait and the viral spread of misinformation.

  3. Unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, such as the outraged and polarised tone and quality of online discourse.”

Lots of Change

When I think back to those days when AM radio rocked my world, to today where Alexa serves up whatever my mood desires, things have changed a lot.

Berners-Lee also notes how much the web has changed in the past 30 years and that it would be “defeatist and unimaginative to assume that the web, as we know it, can’t be changed for the better in the next 30.”

Roy H. Williams, aka The Wizard of Ads, wrote recently that “The key to failure is to hang on to the belief that things have to be ‘the way they ought to be.’ The key to success is to be able to deal with things as they really are.”

Which brings me back to the title of this week’s blog article, are we the solution or the problem when it comes to the future of radio?

What are Radio’s Big 3 Areas of Dysfunction?

I’m sure you have your own thoughts on this, but the sense I have from reading articles about today’s radio industry from all over the world, along with reader comments, are that these three things are very important to the future of radio:

  1. Commercials. Radio’s commercial spot loads are too big. The 60 and 30-second ad lengths are over. Radio needs to re-think the way it monetizes itself OTA (over the air) and the creation of radio ads needs to be a specialty in every radio station. Jerry Lee understands this better than anyone in our industry.

  2. Companionship. Alexa is convenient and we even chat with one another, but I don’t consider “her” a companion. Radio needs to fulfill that social need for the listener. I believe NPR has done a spectacular job of fulfilling this companionship role through its variety of informational programs. Companionship is built by live personalities that broadcast from the area being served or focused on like-interests of the target audience.

  3. Quality vs. Quantity. The radio industry is focused on putting more signals on the air, and controlling more existing radio signals by fewer entities, than it is on the content that should be sent over those signals. The original benchmarks or staples of radio are often much more efficiently handled by other platforms. Radio needs to re-think what it can do that others can’t, and then do it. Radio needs to compliment today’s other communications media, as it no longer is the sole source of information for things like weather, traffic, school closings etc.

I would love to hear your thoughts, but even more important, I would love to hear the thoughts of people who don’t listen to radio and what would entice them to return.

The future of radio will be based on attracting the next generations.

We won’t know what they want if we don’t ask them.

“Companies must do more to ensure their pursuit of short-term profit

is not at the expense of human rights, democracy, scientific fact or public safety.”

-Tim Berners-Lee

 

 

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It’s Another Fine Mess

62“Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.” Variations of this line were always a part of Laurel and Hardy movies. In fact, the pair made a film in 1930 with the title “Another Fine Mess.”

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about things I had learned at the Radio Show 2016 in Nashville and one of those things was about “sharing your messes” during a presentation I attended given by John Bates. What I will share today are some of the points John made amplified by my own personal experiences in the classroom and on the job.

3 Ways to Inspire & Connect

John said there are three ways to inspire and connect with people or an audience. Logic is not one of them. We are emotional creatures and to engage people you first need to touch them emotionally. I know from my sales training from the Wizard of Ads – Roy H. Williams – that you first must touch a person’s heart before you will win their mind and their wallet to buy whatever it is you’re selling.

John next said our human eyes are unique. We are the only living creature that has white in our eyes. We always know where a person is looking (or not looking). Our eyes enable us to better cooperate with one another.

Our conspicuous eyes mean we can immediately sense authenticity when dealing with others.

Your Message is Your Mess

I don’t know about you, but over my career I’ve learned that success teaches you very little. It’s our screw-ups that are the great teacher of life’s lessons.

When things are going great, the natural impulse is to not do anything to screw it up.

Likewise, when teaching another person, only sharing your successes imparts very little knowledge. However, when you share the things that went wrong, and how you learned from these little disasters, and how you changed course to not have something like that happen again, real knowledge is shared.

Les Brown puts it this way: “People don’t connect with your successes; they connect with your messes.”

Life’s real knowledge message is in your mess.

Let Me Tell You about the Time I Screwed-Up

My students tell me that how impactful my sales lectures are when they contain stories about the things I did wrong, learned from and grew from, by messing it all up.

Wow, they say, a teacher that doesn’t know it all, that makes mistakes and became a better person through failure. It lets them know that failure isn’t fatal and can provide some benefits.

I vividly remember the time a new hotel came to town and I went in to see the new manager spewing facts and figures a mile a minute. I had thoroughly prepared for the meeting and I was there dumping all of my prep on his head. The only problem was, I had not touched this new manager on a emotional level and I never asked him what he wanted to achieve. I would be the only media property to not be on the initial buy.

I went back to see the new manager, hat-in-hand, to find out what I did wrong. I’m grateful that he would share with me why I wasn’t bought. Turns out, I was such a fast-talker he figured me to be the conman in the group of media sales people who had initially come to call on him. What he quickly learned was, I knew my stuff and that we should work closely together going forward. It was my first impression that needed working on, he would tell me.

I would learn that when you meet someone for the first time, you need to not “spill all your candy at the door” but shut-up and listen first. Establish common ground and build rapport on which a solid relationship can be built upon.

Losing that sale taught me a valuable lesson that would greatly improve my new radio sales career.

Make a Difference

So don’t be afraid to share yourself with others. Let them in and show them you’re human.

My sales mantra when calling on a new business was always make a friend. People buy from people they know and like. They buy from their friends.

People who listen to the customer, define how success will be measured and make a difference will never have to worry about making a sale.

 

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Radio Creates Traffic

51Radio is like the Rodney Dangerfield of media; it doesn’t get any respect. Ask any business owner what form of advertising is best and they will almost always respond “word of mouth.” Hard to argue that position. Well, radio is really word of mouth communication with a really big mouth.

Last week I wrote an article titled “Don’t Let Radio End Up Like Yahoo!” The whole point of the story was that radio has the power to make things happen; to create traffic, be it in-store or online.

Google Analytics & The Great Oz

TechCrunch published a great article on “How Google Analytics Ruined Marketing” that a good friend of mine sent to me. It’s a long, but excellent read. It left me thinking how Google is like the Wizard of Oz. The Great Oz wasn’t as great as the people in the Emerald City made him out to be. But the wizard was very good at distraction. While everyone was staring at the huge face and the smoke and flames that billowed from below it, Oz took everyone’s eye off of reality.

Google Analytics is like that. It created a whole new bunch of buckets to measure people’s online marketing effectiveness. Except it really doesn’t tell you what you really need to know and that is WHY things happened. If people began searching for your business or product on Google or clicked on your ad on Facebook, you haven’t a clue as to what caused them to do that.

Marketing Channels vs. Marketing Strategies

Radio is a marketing channel. TV is a marketing channel. Newspaper is a marketing channel. But in the digital world, those channels are called social media marketing and search marketing; only they really are not. Facebook, Google, and all the rest are just another marketing channel. You need to develop a marketing strategy first and then deploy it on marketing channels.

What Google Analytics Misses

Google Analytics traps business owners and advertising agencies into thinking that it measures everything in their marketing strategy. It doesn’t. It only measures online activity. It completely misses how radio, TV or any of the mass media are having an impact.

It’s All About the Message

I’m a disciple of The Wizard of Ads, Roy H. Williams, who has long preached there really are no bad marketing channels only bad messages. Roy prefers the power of radio and its ability to deliver word of mouth advertising with the longer lasting results of echoic retention. Roy uses the example of eye witnesses vs. ear witnesses. Police often find that everyone saw something different when then go around interviewing witnesses but when it comes to what they heard, they all pretty much agree on that.

Consumer Behavior

Back when gas prices were high and the great recession was beginning, a story in New Times Magazine told of how America’s love affair with the automobile was over. Car sales were in the tank and the United States had to bailout General Motors.

If you were an auto dealer advertising on the radio, you probably were telling your account executive how their radio station wasn’t working.

Fast-forward to 2015 and auto/truck sales just recorded their best year ever in a single year.  Oh and it just so happens that gas prices plummeted and the great recession was mostly over.

If you were an auto dealer advertising on the radio, you probably were telling your account executive their rates were too high and you didn’t need to advertise as cars were flying off the lot.

We Buy With Our Emotions

People buy on emotion and then justify their purchase with logic. That’s never going to change. People buy stuff to make themselves feel good.

Google Analytics measures the activity in the action channel of marketing. It doesn’t measure what got people all emotionally fired up in the first place.

Google’s Getting Your Credit

When I started selling radio advertising, it was long before the internet and Google. Back then when we advertised something for a retailer on the radio, people would come in and say they read about the item in the newspaper.

History doesn’t repeat but it rhymes and so today the newspaper has been replaced by Google search. Now with the free Google Analytics tool, retailers and ad agencies can measure the power of their “digital marketing” and show you how their SEO worked magic. Except the reason anyone did the search in the first place was because they heard about it on the radio.

Radio & Rodney

Which brings me back to where I started, Radio & Rodney “don’t get no respect.”

The Question You Should Be Asking

Samuel Scott says in his TechCrunch article that the question you should be asking is this:

“How would you market yourself if the Internet didn’t exist?

Answer that, and it’ll help your online marketing too.”

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