Radio: Local direct selling is changing


Taddeo to shops – Drop Dead:

Seems Jack Taddeo, among the latest to weigh in on the posting issue, is suggesting operators in the top ten markets are advancing posting merely to kiss up to agencies and buyers. Jack wants the RAB and big group owners to "leave the rest of us alone" his thought being lazy big market guys have created their own mess and need not visit their remedies on the hard working smaller market folk. The impression one gets is there’s gold in them thar hills and things are, well, just peachy there, thank you very much.

Jack is right about one thing. Small market radio is different from major market radio. Further, measured markets are different from those not measured. With all respect to Jack, he and others are failing to recognize the sea change wrought by accountability and transparency.

Nothing but great respect for operators who champion and succeed at direct, however, the world of direct is changing too.

One example. Our small market retail store. We are direct clients of broadcast. As part of every schedule we always include web assets. We track store and web traffic daily. We value traffic into our store and we also value traffic to our web site and to our web store. Our expectation is to generate online revenues equal to or greater than our in-store revenues. A friend and fellow local retailer is generating more dollars online than their very successful storefront.

The world of online marketing and advertising is changing the rule set. This is not limited to major market environments, it’s a rule set not bound by DMA. Buyer expectations are changing dramatically.

Station A might well have better ratings than Station B but when Station B delivers more, is more accountable and appears to be more transparent, doing business with Station A gets questioned. Let me also applaud Jack on the merits of relationship selling. He’s right.

Local retailers understand that all things being equal we do business with the people we like and all things being unequal we do business with the people we like. What’s emerging are new ways of keeping score.

Accountability and transparency are the real issues here. Advertisers and their AORs should hold media accountable. This is not to say that the same rules of accountability relevant in New York should be employed in New Orleans or New Buffalo. For radio to remain relevant and competitive it needs to embrace new measures of accountability and transparency.