On September 9, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, RAIN Summit Indy will spotlight and break out an emerging topic: how local radio stations can expand their businesses beyond the single revenue stream of ad sales, via marketing and providing digital services to local businesses.
Radio: The Original Hyperlocal Platform will focus a panel discussion on the shift of ad dollars to local, and the opportunity for radio to sell integrated digital marketing solutions. The panel, moderated by Saga Communications EVP Steve Goldstein, will identify marketing solutions and strategies for turning sales teams into hyperlocal marketing experts for small business partners.
What are the challenges and opportunities? RAIN spoke with researcher and consultant Gordon Borrell, head of Borrell Associates, about the potential for radio stations to add new business lines by selling digital services to local businesses. We asked Borrell whether the potential upside is greater than traditional ad-revenue prospects for the radio industry.
“Yes, by ten,” Borrell affirmed. “In any market, there is typically five to ten times as much spent on digital services than on advertising. Local businesses are putting a lot of money in developing their social pages, email communications, hosting their websites, designing it, maintaining databases, and more — it adds up to a lot of money.”
Many station managers might cast a wary eye on the heavy lifting of developing new business expertise, and selling a new category of service. In our conversation, Gordon Borrell didn’t minimize the challenge. ” It’s different from the usual skills of running a radio station — programming, ad sales, and technology. That’s why radio has trouble swallowing this, because it’s a different business model. [Stations] need to understand digital services, and then go out and sell them.”
Challenges notwithstanding, Borrell is bullish on the earning potential for stations willing to devote resources. “I advocate that radio stations that want to grow revenues again should look at this. It’s a new business line and there’s a cost associated with it. It’s for stations willing to invest in revenue growth.”
This important and emerging topic will be a key panel at RAIN Summit Indy. CLICK HERE for registration.