Radio’s Marriage Counselors

December 14, 2011

I walked into a meeting and was told by an AE that they talked to one of our on-air talent about a client and they were very excited about the ideas and had no problem working the 3-hour event. The talent I was told, even made great suggestions about how to improve the event. All was good.

Then I walked into a meeting with the same on-air talent where they gave me an earful about this crazy idea and ridiculous event they were asked to do for a client and how the expectations were just unacceptable. What am I going to do to fix it?

Such is a day in the life of a Marketing Director. How do we balance the need to protect the brand while still maximizing the efforts to meet our sales goals?

1. Trust – Trust is earned, not given. The on-air talent needs to know that you have their backs at all times. If you are inconsistent in your message, the trust will slip away. The sales department needs to know that you are willing to do anything to help them get the buy. Show them and help them and they will trust you.

2. Team Work – Don’t be afraid to work with the Program Director. Chances are, you both share the same vision for success. Sometimes you have to give a little and sometimes you get a little. If you work as a team, it will balance off in the end.

3. Honesty – There are going to be times you just can’t please everyone and a choice has to be made. Don’t sugar coat it. I have told all of our on-air talent at one point or another that I will always tell them how important something is or isn’t. When the sales people need to be told no, explain why.

4. Listen – Sometimes just listening to someone explain their point of view helps you understand an underlying issue. Many times, once they start talking, they talk their way into a solution. When they don’t get their way, they almost always appreciate being heard instead of being told.

5. Creative Alternatives – It doesn’t help your relationship with the AE’s or the On-Air Talent when you just say no. Instead, offer creative alternatives to help them. Many times, you can tweak an idea to fit your own goals without losing the money and without having to do some of the crazy ideas we see come down through the agencies.

6. Get Over It – Once a decision is made, no matter who has yelled the loudest, we need to put it behind us. Don’t worry; the next issue is just one meeting away.

Most of the time, the craziest, most difficult things to deal with come from a statement like this: “I need to do one of these promotions to get the buy”. Take a deep breath. Don’t worry about what they are asking for, reach into your own arsenal and find an idea that works for you. When you know it works for you, it will almost always work for the client and it will almost always work for the Program Director and On-Air Talent. If it doesn’t…Get Over It. Another problem is right around the corner.

Matt Dubois is making Greater Media great in his role as Marketing & Promotion Director for WBT in Charlotte.