Best Practices for Working with Your National Rep to Target National Advertisers

First, consider your national rep firm partner. Are you mission aligned? Do they specialize in selling your type of operation in your type of market? Are they as passionate about your story as you? For instance, are you an independent broadcaster in a non-metro trading area?

Your national sales team is responsible for having relationships at agencies outside your trading area or state that you cannot manage and monitor directly. Successful reps leverage those relationships to maximize your rate and share on RFPed business. But what can be done before or beyond the RFP to increase the agency interest and spend for radio and in your market? Here are some proactive steps that can help you and your national rep capitalize on every opportunity.

First, consider your national rep firm partner. Are you mission aligned? Do they specialize in selling your type of operation in your type of market? Are they as passionate about your story as you? For instance, are you an independent broadcaster in a non-metro trading area? Many reps and firms specialize in major market sales or are dedicated to the largest owners. Could you be better served to partner with a company who specializes in markets like yours, has a dedicated team focused on beyond the metro opportunities, actively advocates and promotes markets your size and works tirelessly to uncover untapped stories and opportunities that might otherwise go unnoticed?

Next, consider how you are treating the national business you currently earn. Adopting a local-business mindset for national accounts can foster stronger relationships and better outcomes. Are you being transparent and communicating upfront about potential issues? Are you managing deadlines and expectations from the outset of campaigns? Agencies are like elephants and are slow to forget a missed campaign or commitment. Help us showcase your worth and value by stewarding your buy all the way through.

Embracing technology and timing is also crucial. While using spreadsheets and online forms for data collection may seem repetitive, they play a vital role in organizing information systematically. Agencies report that sales scale, software integration and the ability to turn around huge, multimarket projects quickly are of vital importance. By adopting these systems, you help us streamline our processes and earn more on your behalf.

Your national rep also needs you to be the eyes and ears in your local community. Great station/rep partnerships can harness local market insights to enhance national targeting and qualification efforts. Share your national target lists and lean in on your rep’s expertise to identify opportunities. You should also alert your national team to any local market changes, whether it be radio landscape shifts (stations changing format, personalities leaving etc) or new store openings or remodels (which often attract national advertising investments).

Also recall that cultivating local relationships with national brands can help your rep unlock regional funding. Carving Out National Dollars for Small Market Broadcasters – Radio Update Not only do local and regional franchisees and dealers typically have local budgets for you to target, but they often have the influence and power to steer marketing decisions at the national agency level. By empowering and encouraging them to speak out, you help ensure your markets and stations are considered for national campaigns.

Finally, consider embracing attribution strategies. Even without advanced software and systems, attributing success to specific initiatives can demonstrate value and drive future investments. Did the creative or on-air contest inspire any station calls? Did the remote drive traffic? Measure the impact of creative efforts, on-air contests, and remote broadcasts through listener feedback and tangible metrics like attendance numbers, pictures, and airchecks.

By implementing some of these strategies in partnership with your national sales firm, you can enhance your effectiveness, maximize your agency spend and solidify relationships with national brands, ensuring that opportunities are seized, and potential is unlocked beyond traditional RFP cycles. As the media landscape continues to evolve, these collaborative efforts pave the way for sustainable growth and mutual success.

Pic generated by Fabrikasimf for Freepik.com.

Devon Shuman is the SVP, Director of Non-Metro Sales at Gen Media Partners. She has 20 years of national sales experience working with radio groups, agencies and advertisers across the country.

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