I’m sitting in a hotel in Sacramento with the flu and dealing with a station where they just lost all their cash contest money for 2019 (until they hear otherwise) and they are losing their minds. The GM is old school, he knows it sucks but I think he sees it as I do: they’ll probably do better contests now. Why? Because they’ll have no choice BUT to.
1. 4% of people play contests.
2. The only real reason to do them is to make exciting promos and create buzz and be topical.
So…I went from a station that had $200,000 a quarter for marketing to launching Wild in SFO against literally the most amazing station I’d ever heard, with no cash. $1100 a month for “stuff” and no traditional marketing money period.
We beat them in two years. Actually a year if you based it on word of mouth. Arbitron was always six months behind.
1. We identified their weaknesses which were the streets, the community (but they were GOOD with that stuff), bumperstickers and that was pretty much it. We took “trips” away from them pretty quickly.
2. Pretty much “Will this get people to talk about us?” was part of every decision so we did a LOT of stunts.
It was Bit Marketing. One bit into another bit into another bit into another bit into another bit into another bit over and over and over and over.
Anything in terms of prizes came from the indy, movie companies, tv networks and clients. Labels wouldn’t take our calls.
All methodologies were based on “What can we soak out of this for 14 days?” Few contests went longer than 14 days because KMEL did long promotions that dragged on for a month and we could hit with a trip to Vegas, followed by a movie, followed by a highschool bit in that period in addition to topical weekend contests. It made them sound old.
So, think about:
1. How can we have the best contest promos?
2. Winners promos (The Price Is Right would suck if they edited out the screaming people)
3. Community. All the money and ratings machinations in the world will never beat a radio station with an emotional connection to the listeners. KS95 in the Twin Cities? They’ve got an emotional connection to the audience which is why they’ve been a monster for so many years.
4. Look at the calendar. There can’t be down time between promotions. If there is, fill with some kind of ticket or create a great-ass tease.
A bit could be a morning show bet about the Super Bowl into a day of pet adoptions with four days or promoting leading up to it, into a weekend theme, into a Valentines photo gallery promotion, into the morning show using a psychic to match up people for a date, into a club night, into a week of movie tickets, into a week of concert tickets, into promoting a St. Patrick’s event….you get the idea.
It’s fun to watch the competition, locked into a national contest, just get pummeled with promotions. And that’s Bit Marketing.