Peter Smyth: Posting = Accountability


In Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth’s monthly online column, "The Corner Office," he chimed in on the big news from the recent RAB in Atlanta: We need posting. Here are a few excerpts from Smyth’s column:

"I’ve recently been involved in discussions with the Radio Advertising Bureau and other industry leaders on the issue of posting.  The short definition of posting is a comparison of what advertising was ordered and promised against the actual delivery of advertising and audience.

Frankly, in 2008, the radio industry doesn’t have the option of resisting posting.  It’s another word for accountability, and the advertising and marketing world is being rocked by an ongoing demand for accountability.  The evidence closest to home that I can point to is our company’s own demand for accountability from other media when we market our stations.  We regularly demand specific comparisons from television stations, outdoor companies and other marketing companies we employ.  It’s only smart business to do so.

And it’s only smart business for the radio industry, once and for all, to get ahead of the curve on accountability.  As we experience another year of uneven demand for our products, especially at the national and agency levels, we need to examine some of the causes for this state of affairs.  

For the past decade, we’ve resisted the change to electronic measurement, citing costs, methodologies, and other sometimes valid concerns.  No matter what our misgivings, we need to approach electronic measurement as the given of the equation, and our concerns as obstacles to be quickly and cooperatively overcome. The sooner we can get it right, including MRC accreditation and education on the buying and selling of radio in the People Meter world, the better.

We also need to become more user-friendly for our buyers.  We need to speed up our order taking, make as much use of electronic entry and invoicing as we can, and get those results back to our clients as quickly as other media are doing.   The internet is giving customers real-time, online access to their media buy as it is executed, with online ability to change, tweak or rework a buy that is not performing.

Everyone seems to have forgotten that we’re not just competing with other radio broadcasters for share.  We’re competing with television and the internet for the almighty advertising dollar.  Posting, PPM, Radio 2020 and all the other initiatives our industry is working on, as important as they are, are meaningless until we start selling radio for what it’s worth.  Until we do that, we will continue to fall short of our objectives. 
But we cannot wait for posting and electronic measurement to usher in a new era of pricing and selling our medium.  That is a task we must undertake now, with the very next sale we make – because our current practices aren’t working for anyone."