Category Archives: Marketing

The perfect headline


So I’m flipping through the channels, enjoying my time off from work, and I see ‘Top Gear’ listed on the DirecTV channel guide.  I’ve heard about it but really, most car shows are over my head and bore me.  Usually its guys talking about torgue ratios, gear ratios and more engine stats than I want to know.  But then the description catches my eye, “Dodge Viper SRT vs. Cobra helicopter.”  Can I really watch a Dodge Viper race a helicopter!!!  In a word: SWEEEEEEET!

So I click over and the first thing I see is 3 guys showing off 3 different Lamborghinis.  They demo each car, show how fast they are, talk about how much they cost and other very top-level (non car geek info) stats about the car.  (i.e. These things go 0-to-60 in 3.4 seconds).  Holy cow!  They get into a discussion about which one is fastest.  So, naturally, the next thing they do is RACE THEM.

By this time I’m hooked.  I even missed the car vs. helicopter stunt but who cares this is a bad ass show!  I may even go ‘Like’ the show on Top Gear’s Facebook page

My point is that because the producers (or network) wrote a killer headline, who wouldn’t want to watch a sports car race a helicopter, I tuned in and sampled their brand/show.  And, as a marketer, that’s all you can ask for — a consumer to sample your brand.  After that it’s up to the product to deliver on whatever promise the marketing guys made.

The bonus here is that the brand/show actually delivered on it’s promise to me, the consumer.  The headline said I would see something really cool that I had never seen before.  And I did.

Keep that in mind when writing headlines for your blogs, print ads, radio spots, TV spots or any other marketing materials.  Be sensational. Find the most sensational (truthful) point of what you are selling or writing about and use that to draw in customers.

Oh and in the next episode they raced two skiers down a mountain in a Mitsubishi Evo. 🙂  The car won.


Has Country Music Finally Gone Digital?

We are DEFINITELY getting there… well the fans anyway. Let me explain.

As fans continue to demand what they want when they want all of the music industry has struggled to keep up.  Some genres like Pop and Rock tend to have a younger demographic so those fans have been quicker to adopt and more demanding than the older, not-as-tech-savvy Country Music fans.  BUT…

Country Music fans are getting younger and more technologically advanced in their increasingly complicated and busy lives.

How do you know that Ben?  Well, after looking at all the data from the largest Country Music festival in the world (CMA Music Festival, held every June in Nashville) the results are very promising!

Without getting into specifics, CMA members can email me for those, the digital marketing effort put forth by CMA for the event was a huge success and the fans really responded to it.  Here are the highlights:

Continue reading

The Best and Worst Christmas Commercials

The Best
Target – Santa Running to get Last Minute Gift Ideas

The spot opens with Santa running in slow motion as fast as he can. It continues that way for about 8 seconds. Then the camera zooms to a wider shot to show that Santa was in a parking lot sprinting towards the Target. The full screen chyron reads: “Great Last Minute Gifts” (or something similar). Funny AND memorable with a CLEAR MESSAGE. (Go to Target for your last-minute gift needs)

The Worst
Legos – Father and Son Build a Lego House

I really have NO IDEA what they are trying to say. The spot shows a time lapse of two sets of hands building a lego mansion with a windmill on top. The VO does kind of a play-by-play of the action then comments on the bizarre inclusion of a windmill

Radio, will you marry me? #NABradioshow


It’s all about ENGAGEMENT, engagement, ENGAGEMENT!!

At the recent National Association of Broadcasters Radio Show in Philadelphia leaders from all over the radio industry gathered to compare notes and discuss the state and future of radio.  These notes are from several sessions during the event which concentrated on the digital space and how to make it work FOR radio rather than AGAINST it.

Good examples of digital in use

  • Humane Society invests $350k in radio using social media and gets back $3.5 million over one weekend in donations. (Canada)
  • Ford Focus
  • Tennis Shoe Company: created funny “Naturists” viral videos (100k views overnight).
  • Dunkin Donuts: “Everyone Runs on Dunkin”. User-generated content – How do you run on Dunkin?

How to make digital work

  • Stations should be able to turn a profit for their online business in 18 months if they are taking it seriously.
  • Use existing technology (a lot of which is free) and spend your time creating content.
  • Currently radio is getting 2% of local digital pie, which is probably what we deserve considering how seriously we’re taking it.
  • is an online brand for all things sports in Boston (very specialized).  Good job!
  • GAP Broadcasting loyalty rewards programs are bringing in amazing royalty.  Good job!
  • Driving more traffic creates a bigger audience and thus drives up the rate.  Sell for higher rates because of larger audience.
  • Multi-channels of HD may work to create a bigger collective audience.
  • CBS Radio putting on the air using one of their HD channels in Los Angeles.  Good example of how online radio is working its way into main stream.
  • Microsoft Zune HD will help bring younger audience back to radio with it’s RDS-enabled HD tuner.

These are trends and examples of what the panelists are seeing bubbling up to the top in the marketplace.

  • (crowdsource radio)
  • (online personalized radio – AWESOME!)
  • (digital industry news site)
  • (digital content news site)
  • (supposed eBay killer)
  • (hyper-local neighborhood tool that MSNBC just bought)
  • (celeb gossip and publishing platform)
  • Cloud computing (the next big thing: using the internet (cloud) for all of your software needs. Having everything on the web and not on your own computer hard drive)
  • Casual gaming (trend is easy-to-play games that anyone can play quickly and in their web browsers)
  • User-generated content (giving users the power to publish content they’ve created to websites such as YouTube)
  • Episodic videos (short videos that have interwoven story lines that are one-step up from user-generated content)
  • Entrepreneurs tirelessly increasing and bettering the tech
  • Change your day.  Get up an hour earlier, read blogs, and everything else.

WHICH HALF OBSERVATION: Finally! Radio is talking about technology other than AM/FM/XM.  We’re a little late to the game since most of these online technologies have grown without incorporating radio.  For too long, radio thought it was insolated from any “new tech”.  With Pandora and more recently Jelli, Radio needs to run full speed ahead if its to stay relevant.

Can Radio “get it’s cool back?” #NABradioshow


Some of the top programmers in the industry discussed digital media and how to monetize it as well as the state of the industry and how to best bounce back.

Some quick examples of what some stations are doing right:

  • Hot97 100k text msg subscribers, 90k twitter followers, 150k iPhone app downloads
  • Power 106 126k TW, 50k MS friends
  • 20 MM uniques/ week at Clear Channel online / iphone app

Cyndee Maxwell, Former Director/Assoc Editor R&R Magazine: “So everyone agrees that social nets help with ratings.”  What about revenue?

According to the responses from all the group PDs on the panel they are still looking for ways to monetize.  Most are still treating the digital space as a hobby.  All group PDs agreed that radio MUST treat digital as a viable, main source of business before results will be realized.

Other tips from the panel:

  • JAY STEVENS, SVP Programming Radio One: We have got to get FM tuners into every mobile device, cell phones, iPods, etc.
  • RICK CUMMINGS, President Programming Emmis Communications: We’re just not top-of-mind.  Critical to on mobile devices to “get our cool back”.
  • Lots of stations aren’t using Radio Data System.  ALL STATIONS NEED TO USE IT!  It helps compete with iPods, Zune, etc.  (RDS = displays song, artist info on radio displays)
  • Lots of talk about “getting our cool back.”

CYNDEE: “Do the stations have to program differently for the online stream?”
GEORGE ROMANO, Executive VP Programming, Clear Channel Radio: “No. It’s the radio station.”

WHICH HALF OBSERVATION:  WHA??????  I think we need to program a little differently because of how listeners are used to using online music.  But that’s just me.  I can’t believe that a top programmer wouldn’t realize that listening online is different that on-air.  Especially with the likes of Pandora and Jelli popping up, listeners are being conditioned to listen much differently online, namely the fewer number of interruptions.

How Social Media Helped Elect a President. #NABradioshow

Lessons in Social Media & Mobile
Case Study – Obama for America

Scott Goodstein of Revolution Messaging was in charge of Senator Obama’s social campaign and downloaded the attendees on what it took to get a senator elected president with the help of social media.

First and foremost

Secondly, don’t be afraid to experiment.  Social media can be very powerful but you have to be afraid to try (and fail) at new tactics and strategies that incorporate social media into the traditional plan.

Social Networking sites used:
Faceook, MySpace, Twitter, MiGente, BlackPlanet, Eventful, LinkedIn, Eons, (Disabled Americans social network) 

Next, make sure you’re adding value for your listeners.

  • Don’t try and change the world or fix anything.  Try to add to the process.
  • Text messaging was used at event in SC.  30k attendees.  Didn’t give conversion #.
  • Allow consumers to engage & validate.
    • Artists created posters.  The campaign didn’t ask them to they just did it with elements the campaign already had out there.  In this case, promotional photos.
    • Consumers created videos.  Same as above.  User-generated content exploded all over the internet because the campaign provided the tools and made it easy for the consumers.
    • Move the marketplace.  Inspire the consumer to want to be a part of your brand/cause/event.

The campaign used mobile/text/iPhone app in the following ways to engage a new generation of voters:

  • News feeds
  • Policy info. Get info about the candidate’s platform straight from the source.
  • Videos
  • Office locations.  Made it easy for potential volunteers to easily find a place to volunteer.
  • Call friends. Used your phones contact list to keep track of who you’ve called to action.
  • Wallpaper
  • Ringtones
  • Photos
  • Sign ups
  • Send hope

42% of teens say they can text while blindfolded.

13 to 17 year olds send 2000 texts/mo on average (Source: Nielsen)

Finally, social media can DEEPEN THE INTERACTION & the CONVERSATION with your consumers, fans, listeners, viewers, voters to make a difference and move them to action!

WHICH HALF OBSERVATIONS: Unfortunately, the Radio industry doesn’t move as quickly as it should.  Perhaps a player will emerge in the next year or so that IS doing these things right and the bottom line will help legitmize the extra efforts, and maybe help re-elect Radio as the media choice for the next generation.

Action items to make your business better. #NABradioshow

Digital Best Practices
from Daniel Anstandig of

In a word: BRILLIANT

Brilliant actionable tips for local radio and others to make their digital presence more focused and able to work harder for them.  These are from Daniel Anstandig, President of McVay New Media, as presented at the NAB Radio Show in Philadelphia on Sept. 24, 2009.  Find him on Twitter @anstandig.  By far the best session at the show!

Year 1:
3-5% of broadcast revenue should be digital
7-10% of broadcast cume should be the amount of unique visitors your site receives
Your site should average about 3 Page Views per visitor

Year 2:
5-8% rev of broadcast revenue should be digital
10-15% of broadcast cume should be the amount of unique visitors your site receives
Your site should average about 5 Page Views per visitor

For every 400k in rev ur trying to generate u need one seller.

Daniel has re-written the job descriptions for everyone at your radio station so you can do your part in the digital revolution.  I plan to post them as soon as I receive them.

1. You HAVE to have an intuitive user interface
If your users don’t understand what it is that you want them to do on your site they won’t be coming back.
• To check your station’s site(s) go to: and

2. Enable new discovery
If new users can’t find your site you’ll be scratching your head wondering why your online audience isn’t growing as fast as it should be.
• Submit to social bookmarking sites like and
• Daniel also pointed to as a great example.

3. Instant gratification
Everything online is about instant gratification.  I want what I want and I want it now!!!
• Scrolling feature box is 60% more effective getting users to visit a second page on your local site.
• Also, Daniel pointed out that the ‘Listen Live’ button is more effective in the upper left portion of your homepage.

4. Adapt based on past use
This is an advanced technique that some stations can use to target ads (namely from Google) based on past data from users that visited their site.  Check out Google ad manager.  It’s free for goodness sake!

5. Emotional meaning
This is radio’s number one ‘ace in the hole’.  Radio connects to the listener in a way TV, print, out of home and even typical internet cannot do.  Your website should mirror that connection.

1. Off site links in same window. 
Any time you link off of your site make sure it opens in a new window.  All it takes is a target=”_blank” added to the HTML for the link.

2. Poor content. 
Well duh?  Of course, looking at several local station sites this may not be as obvious as one might think.

3. Outdated/irrelevant content. 
Daniel gave a great example of a station’s site that had school snow closings listed on the homepage.  The problem was that it was APRIL and hadn’t snowed in months.  C’mon radio!  Please, pay attention to the www.

4. Compatibility. 
If someone can’t properly view your site then what’s the point?  Check out to make sure it works correctly in a ton of different browsers (Firefox, IE, Opera, Chrome, and a bunch you’ve never heard of.

1. Leap from broadcasting to crowdcasting.
It ain’t about broadcasting to the masses anymore.  It’s about connecting to the ones that are really listening.

2. Databasing
McVay New Media suggests collecting these data fields for your email database: First Name, Last Name, Address, Date of Birth, Gender, Mobile Phone #, and a few targeted survey questions where the answers will add value to your stations.

3. Analytics
Subscribe to now.  They will monitor your traffic for you.
Subscribe to Google Analytics now.  It’s free and is almost always easier to use than the analytics tool your parent company has set up for you.

1. Embrace the show outside the show. 
What Daniel means by this, he explained, was that your talent, sales, management, promotions/marketing all have to buy into this whole internet thing.

2. One station he works with signs off each morning with, “we’re moving over to our Internet studio”.  Even if this content is pre-recorded it gives the sense of being live and sounds GREAT online.  Daniel also sited,, as a great example.

You HAVE to have a purpose and strategy when jumping into the digital realm.  Know where you want to go before you start your journey.  One to three word mission statement. E.g. Local active moms or affluent ski bunnies.  Haha

Other tidbits from
Reach (broadcast). Engage (web). Capture (listener).

Reach: use your own signal to promote your site/content.
Engage: make sure you engage and interest your audience on a continuous basis once they get to your site(s).
Capture: make sure you capture some data so you can message back to them to drive ratings and revenue.

Hope these help.  Get more from

WHICH HALF OBSERVATIONS: Dear Radio Industry, please do all of these and do all of these now!  If you do your part to raise Radio to the next level it will benefit everyone.  More traffic, more engagement, more ratings, , more revenue.