Digital Sales Savants
Entercom - Kansas City
Leading The Digital Sales Charge In Market 32
Enterom Kansas City certainly has a great deal to be proud of. They boast an arsenal of 8 (yes, 8) of the market's top performers in KQRC (Rock), KMBZ (News/Talk), WDAF (Country), KRBZ (Alternative), KKSN (Hot AC), KUDL (AC), KCSP-A (Sports) and KXTR-A (Classical). Entercom has long embraced the digital frontier and their Kansas City cluster is a fine example of this committment. Directing the Digital Sales team, is Shea Singleton, a 17 year radio vet who is equally familiar to both Sales and Programming, having spent time behind the mic, in the PD/Ops Manager chair, as a webmaster and designer and now as a successful leader in the world Radio Digital Sales. We had an opportunity to chain Shea to his desk long enough to ask him a few questions about the state of the industry, his take on the evolving Sales front and much more.
How many staffers make up your Digital sales team?
We do not separate our digital sales through staffs, we encourage all of our AE's to include digital with all of their presentations and it is paying off. We have grown over 120% since last year.
In your view, how does selling the Internet differ from selling traditional radio? What are the challenges you face when approaching clients?
One of the biggest challenges is training our clients the way we have trained our AE’s to understand Digital. Explaining to them the advantages of reaching our P1’s where they play the most, on our websites. We walk our clients through our websites and let them get a feel for what we are doing with our websites and how we are integrating our advertisers with our content and keeping that content fresh and relevant.
Some companies have begun waving the white flag at local direct sales, resigning themselves to collecting only regional and national dollars on their sites. What are your thoughts on this?
Local is where we make our money, we get very little play off the national or agency buys. Our local advertisers already believe in our stations and they believe in our listeners therefore it is easier to add digital to their buys because they know what to expect. After we show them the results with the basic banner and streaming ads we show them the Disruptive ads, video pre-roll, mobile marketing, database marketing, website takeover, interactive spaces like our Artist Networks and much more. The more options we have the better we can build a custom program that will bring them results.
Many radio station clusters report difficulty in generating excitement amongst their sales team regarding their digital assets. You encountered this very problem in Kansas City. How did you overcome it?
The sales team had been burned by former DSMs that didn’t understand both sides of the business so it took a while to get the excitement raised. Now that they have clients asking for more, their excitement is at an all time high. The clients are seeing success with these platforms and are asking their Reps to include it in every buy now.
In learning to sell the digital world, who have been your greatest teachers?
Sandy Smallens and Royle Johnson taught me a lot when I came to Entercom. Sandy has a great back ground in new technologies and Royle brought the sales mind to the process, together they formed a team that used both sides of the brain.
In many markets, other media competitors (television and print) tend to outpace their contemporaries in Radio in terms of technology and sales initiatives. That doesn't seem to be the case at your cluster.
I feel that in Kansas City and with many Entercom websites around the country we have already surpassed our competition. We are proud of the fact that our local digital department is always researching new technologies and keeping up with what is going to be available. We are also making our websites a destination for information not only for artists, news, weather and station information but also for community information, contesting and Hyper Exclusive content that can only be seen on our websites.
What are your thoughts on e-mail marketing?
Our database is very valuable, not only to our Programming department but to us in sales. We sell sponsorships to our database marketing but we limit it to no more than 2 sponsors per e-mail and those sponsors have to match the lifestyle of the station…we do not want our listeners to feel spammed. We have many success stories but my favorite is when a Broadway Play came to KC a year ago we started a pre-sale announcement through our database as part of a big campaign that was bringing in large first time direct dollars for our AE. We got a call twenty four hours after the e-mail went out saying that the client wanted to cancel their campaign, we thought that they were mad with us but it turned out that they had sold out all four shows just from the e-mail that we sent out, great news for the client.
...and text marketing?
As we hold our database valuable, we hold our Text Database even more so. There is not a more powerful way to reach our listeners than through their cell phones. We do mobile marketing for clients and promotions and we have sponsorship on everything we do. The biggest lesson we have learned is not to send out too many messages or your opt out rate will rise and then you won’t have a database to present to your clients. Keep your outgoing messages limited to no more than 6 per week.
Are you seeing any sales movement with your WAP sites?
We are currently treating it the same way we treat our current websites. Eventually when we start seeing more impressions on these sites we’ll create a new revenue stream but right now the demand isn’t there.
What advice would you give to someone who has just been charged with selling the digital realm of radio?
Treat our websites as an extension to our frequency, our website is where we host all the information that we talk about on the air. If a jock talks about it on the show, then he blogs about it on the site, if we host an event then there is video from that event, if a contest is being played out on air it is also being played out online, if we have breaking news we have sent that information to the cell phones and then told the listener to tune in or log on to hear more information. If an advertiser is interested in the product then sell them the entire meal not just the appetizer.
Finally, we're coming to Kansas City...where do you take us?
Kaufman Stadium, even if the Royals aren’t winning it is a fun place to hang.
See Shea's Digital Sales Force In Action!:
Click the link above to take a peek at how Entercom is marketing their digital assets in Kansas City. It's a very nice presentation for quite an impressive cluster.
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