Radio Upfronts: 4 Powerful Ways to Maximize Your Sales

Contributor: Stu Jacobs, President, Mr. Master

While TV’s upfronts season traditionally takes place in May, the radio industry’s upfronts season takes place in September and into October. Upfronts are a chance for radio – on a national, regional, or local level – to secure business for the duration of the following calendar year. This benefits radio by securing committed ad dollars well in advance. It also benefits advertisers by allowing them to see what new shows, content or event opportunities a cluster, station, radio group, or network has planned for the upcoming year. In addition, upfronts allow brands and agencies to strategically plan their advertising dollars, book ads at scale, access premium inventory and secure efficient pricing. It’s a win-win opportunity for all.

As radio enters its upfronts season, Mr. Master – an organization focused on compliance and content distribution software – has compiled some of our top 4 powerful sales tips to help you maximize your sales efforts

1. Create an Upfronts Event

Differentiate your upfronts pitch from your standard renewal or new business efforts by transforming your upfronts sales cycle into a truly special event. You can think of this like a typical promotion, but instead of your listeners attending, your clients are the target audience. For example, you could do a virtual or in-person summit featuring your on-air talent, as well as artists that your station plays. You could give away or ship swag bags featuring a memorable premium item to your clients, or if you wanted to create a virtual interactive experience, you could create a stay-at-home online class with a celebrity. So, for example, imagine your clients making pizzas with a pop star. You can partner with a local restaurant to have all of the ingredients shipped to attendees in advance and could draw up custom instructions that creatively relate all of the ingredients back to your company’s sales opportunities.  

2. Get Creative with Your Pitch

If you are looking to cut through the clutter and get the attention of a key prospect/client, don’t be afraid to get creative with your pitch deck. For example, enlist the help of your marketing team to create a pitch deck in the format of a branded menu for a restaurant chain. If you are pitching a beverage company, you could relabel some of its products with a design that incorporates your sales messaging copy points. If the beverage brand in question has different flavors, each flavor could be a different selling point, i.e. one for radio, one for digital, one for events, one for integrations, etc. Your imagination has no limit.

3. Utilize the RAB’s “Why Radio?” Data

If you need data to help tell the story of radio – and just how powerful it is – the RAB is a wonderful resource to get free and helpful information. For example, visit the RAB’s Why Radio microsite to create custom reports with industry and consumer data that you can incorporate as proof points.

4. Deliver 100% Ad Accountability

One way to maximize your upfronts sales potential and make the most of your inventory is by minimizing the need for network makegoods. Use software to automate traffic and production workflows and process network spots — essentially eliminating the need to do makegoods. Compliance software can also post affidavits within 24 hours and provide client shareable analytics on-par with digital. Software such as Automation Import Manager (AIM) can be a great solution to get the most out of your network inventory during the upfronts season. 


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