Advertising Insider

Local vs. Corporate Decision Makers - Navigating the Radio Industry

Posted by Karyn Bak on February 09, 2016

navigating the radio industryWhen it comes to reaching decision makers in the radio industry, many businesses find themselves wondering whether their efforts would be best spent marketing to local vs. corporate decision makers. The truth is that both approaches have their merits, but the motivations of these decision makers can vary. That’s why it’s important to know what you want to achieve, and make sure you understand your prospect’s motivations so that you can tailor your selling to meet their needs.

The Motivations of Local vs. Corporate Decision Makers

When it comes to local decision makers, understand that they’re looking for immediate solutions that will affect their stations directly. Local executives are concerned about day-to-day operations, and how a particular solution will affect their jobs. The effects of implementing a solution at the local level is more acutely felt — decision makers here are less likely to take a chance on something they can’t be 100% certain they will actually use, or that will be able to help their team meet their revenue goals.

Stations at the local level have less resources than corporate. One bad decision that negatively impacts the success of the station could cost them their, or their employee’s livelihood. Additionally, they might need to defend the choices they make to corporate later on. If something they do doesn’t work, it can be a tough sell come quarterly reviews.

Corporate decision makers, on the other hand, are looking at the big picture. Whereas local stations are looking for tactical, custom fit solutions that can help their unique situation, corporate is looking for things that are multi-use. They need solutions that can be applied uniformly to every station and market within their brand. Hyper-niches need not apply.

Is Your Product or Service Best Presented to a Local Decision Maker or Corporate?

If the service you provide is, for example, social media management, or sales consulting, you may want to target more on a local level. Why? Because your goal is to provide services to a specific group of people. Any business that depends on a tailored approach would work well being pitched to a local station.

The logistics of tailored solutions at the corporate level can get complicated quickly, but when your client is a single market, they’ll be much more receptive. These people need tailored solutions to help capitalize on what’s unique about their audience.

To determine whether your product might be a good fit for selling to corporate, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Can it be rolled out nationally?
  2. Does it create a solution for a problem that all radio stations are having?

Software and technology that is easily adaptable to a variety of markets is a good fit here.

Selling software to a single station can be tricky, because more often than not, corporate is dictating what software they need to use already. That’s because there is a need for uniformity across stations when it comes to software and technology. Imagine for example, if five stations, owned by the same company, all used a different standard for audio encoding. One uses .mp3, one uses .wma, another uses .wav, one uses .flac, and one only plays vinyl records. If corporate wanted to share a broadcast across all of their stations, they would need five different versions of a recording to do it. It would be a mess.

One thing to keep in mind when formulating your approach is that more decisions are being made now at the local level by different decision makers. As the paradigm of the radio industry has shifted to keep up with current trends, many positions have transitioned from being gatekeepers to positions that wield enormous influence within the company. They include digital sales manager, local sales manager, marketing director, event director, promotions manager and a whole host of other titles. Keep in mind the goals and pain points for people in these positions, and try to tailor your sales approach with those in mind.

Wherever you choose to focus your marketing efforts — local or corporate — be sure to have a well formulated plan going in. It may be that you're only able to sell to one or the other, but ideally, it’s best to really think about going after BOTH decision makers at the corporate and local level depending on where you can make a difference or impact. Don’t give up if one says “no” because that doesn’t mean it can’t happen on a different level — this goes both ways.

In any case, having an understanding of what you're selling, and the needs of who your are selling to is imperative to success when trying to reach decision makers in the radio industry.


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