Univision Communications announced that as part of its digital strategy it plans to expand the delivery of mobile solutions to the local marketplace through Univision Radio. The Company has partnered with HipCricket, a pioneering mobile marketing company, for this local initiative.
Univision Móvil, a leader in the Spanish-language wireless space delivering national, comprehensive mobile solutions, will oversee the programs created through this partnership to ensure synergy across its multiple platforms.
We spoke with Hip Cricket CEO Ivan Braiker and Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Hasen about the partnership:
Tell us a little bit about the roll-out schedule and some of the functionalities you are going to be providing.
Braiker: Well basically everything from interaction with the on-air personalities, polling, texting, contesting, The VIP club—anything that has engagement involved in it. Also, getting people that have opted in back at the station information about certain times and certain things that are going on. Anything that mobile marketing has the ability to do, we will be doing with those stations.
Hasen: As we go in and we train the individual stations for two days on programming and sales benefits, we literally start with what is mobile marketing and we get everybody on the same page in terms of what the opportunity is. We physically teach folks how to use the system. It’s a web-based system that gets used by programmers; it gets used by salespeople. It gets used even by on-air folks. We assign an account manager dedicated to turning around a creative brief in 48-hours where a station might say I’ve got a meeting with a car dealer on Thursday and I need an idea. We have, just as Ivan said, that is part of our core offering to all of our stations. That’s part of what of what we will be doing for Univision as well.
We’re seeing a lot of traditional revenue that’s been dropped for new media. But those dollars are starting to get picked up again with programs such as these. Is this really the way of the future, for radio to pick up those lost dollars?
Braiker: We did a program for a station in Evansville, Indiana, sort of a quick start program where we work with the sales department, help them get started, help them sell it. That station wrote half a million dollars in business in one week.
Remember, the stations still have a brand and they still have a community. If they can’t get as many ad dollars out of national there are other ways to do it locally. Advertisers can be super-served with some of this stuff. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about how advertisers are being super-served by offering some of these solutions.
Braiker: What is happening is radio is kind of going through a stage–all media, in fact. Radio can’t sell spots—those days are gone. You have a very rapid state of evolution. That business is going away. That’s what we’re seeing–it’s going away very rapidly. Stations have the package all that they do, integrating their web, mobile, streaming, all the things that are new media. Radio really was the first social media there ever was. As all of us grew up, our social network was the radio stations—we listened to it with our friends. So anyhow a lot of radio never embraced that—the fact that they are a social network. Hip Cricket helps them do that. It helps create interactive advertising. It helps give a them a way for the advertiser to engage their audience right when their commercials are done. You can have a call to action in that commercial that can get them an immediate response. The one thing that’s with everybody all the time is their mobile phone.
Hasen: I don’t know if we’ve told you the example of what happened in Knoxville recently. Knoxville went out and through consultation with us, was to sell an annual sponsorship of a keyword. So we identified mutually some things that would be own-able and one of them was the word “pizza.” So this Knoxville station went out and sold the word pizza for 12-months, locked in an advertiser so every time somebody texted in the word pizza to the short code they will get an offer from this particular pizza operator. We did the same thing with several other words in Knoxville. This station sold $100,000 in keywords in one day through this program.
Goes to show you people need to get with the program because this is the way it’s going. If you don’t want to keep looking at down numbers you have to get on something else and the ones that do it the quickest in each market are the ones that are going to own it. It’s good news because radio needs ways to make money. The stations are there, they’re not going away; the station brands are still there, they’re not going away. What’s sad is that radio didn’t do this two, three years ago like it probably should have. They allowed a lot of these local sites and local other media to sort of take over a little bit with the activity of texting, loyalty programs and local classifieds, etc..
Braiker: The radio stations today are still dragging their feet or they’re going with somebody that they can only do text messaging with, in exchange for barter ads. The fact of the matter is they also need to do mobile marketing with the databases that go along with it. The real asset is data. They’re saving themselves money; they’re walking over dollar bills to try to save pennies.