Choosing Partners

September 5, 2014

As I’ve been thinking about the challenge of transforming the radio business into a multifaceted local media business, I realize that we are challenged as never before by the multitude of startups, digital divisions, and online networks that have covered the landscape of every market, no matter what size or location.  And our advertising clients are trying to understand and utilize these new digital platforms to better sell their products and services.  Yet, no matter how talented our employees are and how much creative resource planning we do, each individual radio station simply cannot  be expert in all aspects of digital marketing, including content marketing, podcasting, social media, online audio and video, consumer generated content and other advertiser needs.There is a strategy, however, that works to everyone’s mutual benefit.  Partnering with the brightest and most innovative of the digital universe can rapidly expand our capabilities and build upon, rather than compete with, our traditional radio audience and client base.  Choosing partners and finding the proper balance within the relationship requires some careful planning and a willingness to experiment, but it can be done.

Greater Media has partnered with a number of technology companies and we constantly talk with many more.  It is an education in and of itself to find out what creative approaches new people have taken to traditional marketing problems. We have partnered with audio providers, online delivery companies as well as video, data and e-mail experts who create and maintain an ever-more-complex infrastructure.   It allows staff at our stations to focus on what they do best – understanding their clients and listeners and then putting these innovations to work.

As an example, our Boston stations have just entered into a market exclusive agreement with a young, fresh, innovative start-up digital business called Jebbit.  Have you ever heard of “post-click engagement”?  I had not either, until I was briefed on the Jebbit technology, which allows Greater Media Boston to offer a new tool to their advertisers, both local and national.   Rather than just presenting online users an e-mail or an online display ad, Jebbit allows advertisers to ask online questions to users who click on the ad.   It gets them one step further toward the ultimate goal of converting a user to a customer, whether it’s online or brick and mortar.

Post-click engagement is an ideal technology for radio advertisers.  Jebbit’s platform gives Greater Media Boston new capabilities to bring to our advertisers.

Consumers are a savvy bunch, and they have already taken to seeing past online static display.  Post-click engagement makes it easy for users to dig deeper when they are interested in an ad such as display, native, paid search, email or mobile.  The platform allows advertisers to introduce new products, build awareness, drive leads and acquire new customers. It is another capability in our growing toolkit of digital assets that we can employ to meet our clients’ expanding needs It is a challenge to us as well as our clients to rapidly understand and employ new techniques and technology.  When we search for partners, we look not only for the technical innovation they bring to the table, but also for their ability to teach and apply their tools to the marketing process.

There are tons of enthusiastic people making software out there, but they often start with technology rather than a marketing need.  Too often we are demo’ed gadgets in search of a mission rather than smarter, easier, quicker and more enjoyable ways of meeting customer needs.  That is what we look for when we are talking with potential partners.  We are happy to have found a new one in Jebbit.

It certainly is not the end of the process and we will continue to search for new and innovative partners who can help us better serve our advertisers and extend the reach of our station brands.