Interep announced its goal of increasing national spot radio sales in 2001, estimating that the national reps must bill $1.6 billion in the second half of 2001 to achieve a positive gain for the year. To attain this goal, Interep will assign every salesperson and sales executive in the company a specific new business development directive, and will commit additional resources over the next 18 months to research, marketing and other aggressive new business initiatives. The investment is designed to spur radio spending and maintain the medium's consistent pattern of annual growth, despite the weak advertising climate in the first and second quarters of this year.
Interep's $1.5 million program is designed to use its industry leadership position to spearhead a quick turnaround in the entire radio ad market, with a growth goal of 8% for 2002. "We can't afford to wait," said Ralph Guild, Interep's Chairman and CEO. "As an industry leader, Interep has to act, and act now, to assure that the remainder of 2001 is `radio's better half" for our clients, with growing momentum through 2002." This decision to invest in an industry-wide marketing initiative during a down advertising cycle is not without precedent. It is similar to Interep's 1992 launch of Radio 2000, which generated three-quarters of a billion new radio dollars, and helped increase radio's share of advertising from 6.5% to 8.3% in 8 years. Guild added, "We remain committed to investing in new programs that will increase revenue for all of our clients, not just a select few."
Interep's new $1.5 million campaign will include:
- A plan for all Interep sellers and senior executives to target a minimum of two assigned non-radio or moderate radio advertisers for new business development. As a result, a specifically produced "Why Radio" presentation will be given to over 1,500 advertising decision-makers between now and June 1st, 2002.
- A matching donation of $200,000 to Arbitron's proposed Radio Effectiveness Lab, which is designed to provide advertisers with quantifiable data on the impact of radio advertising.
- Additional funding and other resources to support the initiatives proposed by the RAB and radio broadcasters for the advancement of our industry.
- Funding to create and produce effective radio commercials for advertisers interested in using the medium.
- A series of "power" events, starting with the "Power of the Urban Consumer" seminar on Tuesday, October 16th in New York City. Other upcoming events will include the "Power of Hispanic Consumers," "The Power of Integrated Marketing," and individual events on the Country, News/Talk and Sports formats. The goal of these events is to educate advertisers and agencies on radio's ability to reach key consumer segments.
- A press effort to raise radio's visibility in consumer and business publications.
Interep views Arbitron's Radio Effectiveness Lab as a practical response to a recent survey of media buyers commissioned by Entercom that uncovered several opportunities to make radio more saleable to advertisers, including the ability to provide hard data to prove its effectiveness. Guild emphasized, however, that the ensuing research results should not be directed exclusively at media buyers, stating, "This is not only a transactional issue, and cannot be resolved solely at the buying level. It's also a planning opportunity, that needs to be addressed directly with advertising decision-makers."