Advertising Insider

The Evolving Role of the Radio Digital Sales Manager

Posted by Karyn Bak on January 20, 2016

digital sales managerIt used to be that the digital sales manager (DSM) was something of a niche position within radio stations, but today that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As the radio industry has adapted their practices to integrate even more digital marketing into their service offerings, the role of the DSM has become more important than ever. For businesses looking to market their products or services to the radio industry, it’s important to know this, because the DSM has influence and can be a major decision maker.

What The Digital Sales Manager Did Five Years Ago is Much Different Than What They Do Now

At many stations, the DSM position might not have even existed five years ago! Now it’s much less common for a station not to have someone in this role (even if the title is slightly different). The radio station digital sales manager has become an integral part of the management structure at a station — they have more responsibilities now than ever before. This may include their own team, and larger oversight of station budgets and revenue.

The need for this position has grown as the industry as a whole has evolved, and individual stations have followed suit. Stations have introduced more digital assets and solutions for their advertisers — putting more emphasis on growing these practices and staying ahead of industry trends. In fact, in 2016 radio stations will see continued digital expansion, providing a variety of new services to clients such as website hosting, social media management, and search optimization.  

Perhaps most importantly, stations have realized the importance of digital. Several groups —  including Entercom, iHeartMedia and Townsquare Media — have made a commitment toward digital and seen as much as 8-12% of their revenue come from digital assets, so it’s really no surprise that the DSM has taken on a bigger leadership role.

Why Should This Matter to YOU?

If your company is looking to market to a radio station — especially if your product or service is on the digital software side of things — the chances that you’ll need to engage with a digital sales manager are high. Even just a cursory glance at some job descriptions for a digital sales manager position shows a wide variety of areas in which they act as the gatekeeper, including: SEO, SEM, social media, web development, mobile marketing, and analytics. Some DSMs even have a hand in the creative side of a station’s programming, marketing, and content creation.

Similarly, if you’re selling new software that would benefit sales and marketing departments, a station’s DSM may be your first touch in prospecting. While organizational charts vary, it’s likely that she’ll be involved during some step in the decision making process. That’s because DSMs play a part in a lot of different station functions. They have a budget, and a responsibility to bring in new business and increased revenue. What assets to focus on or bring into their portfolio is of great importance to them. As is the decisions they make regarding hiring, training, and equipping their team with the tools they need to bring in new business.

If your company is involved in any sort of digital marketing, consumer research, advertising, customer relations management, or software and app production, you can expect to be selling your products to a digital sales manager. As with any business to business marketing, it’s important to understand what this person’s role is at the station you are targeting, and how they might use your products or services. By understanding the roles and responsibilities of radio station DSMs, you’ll be better equipped to market your products and services effectively to decision makers.


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