During the past four years as a corporate support advisor, I have been inspired, humbled and often amused by those of you who work to make public radio viable in a challenging media landscape. There are three things, in particular, about public media sales professionals that have been proven true again and again for me. I want to share these with you to remind you of the success and inspiration you carry into your work each day.
1. Your passion is everything.
Whether you represent a AAA community station or a mega-market NPR affiliate, your passion for your product overcomes all obstacles. (Advertising agencies aside, right?) I’ve talked to salespeople in small Midwest markets with a decidedly conservative population and marveled at their ability to keep telling their story with a smile on their faces and determination in their hearts.
I’ve heard about the challenges of selling in major markets where the pool of potential sponsors gets smaller and smaller due to the costs of sponsorship. And we’ve all talked about how digital is stealing our money.
Radio is a shrinking media choice and selling :10- :15- :20 second announcements that “can’t say anything” is not the easiest way to make a living! And yet most public stations are growing revenue from corporate support. Were it not for your passion for your product, who would ever want to support public media? Congratulations to you all for what you do!
2. Public media WORKS!
I remember when I moved from commercial to public radio, and, in spite of my love of the product, I couldn’t help but wonder if it actually got results for clients. I can tell you, 16 years in, that it absolutely does.
Branding campaigns aren’t as easy to measure as other marketing efforts. And yet, without branding, what’s the difference between Apple and Cricket? Both help people connect, and yet, they are so different! At least that’s what we believe.
You’ve shared many stories of clients large and small who keep coming back year after year because they get so much great feedback from their customers who thank them for supporting their local public station. The Halo Effect is alive and well in public media land.
3. Relationships are everything.
Public media is all about relationships. From the relationship that we have with listeners, to the relationships we have with our sponsors, to the relationships our sponsors develop with our listeners… it’s a perfect cycle that we offer to our underwriters. So much better than a “like”!
When you become part of the public media world you enter a very special place. When I was a sales manager, and in the market for a new rep, I used to believe with all my heart that I had the most precious gift to bestow on someone: a job in public media!
Thank you for keeping that belief alive in me. You are very special people and I treasure the relationships I have had the good fortune to have. Happy selling to you all!