While local TV news marketing executives see their biggest challenge with news as a communication issue, a situation seemingly easy to fix, what they request of the stations’ general managers is not. More staffing, more on-air inventory, more outside media money, more money in their budgets. I’ve seen first-hand how hamstrung TV station general managers […]
More staffing, more on-air inventory, more outside media money, more money in their budgets.
I’ve seen first-hand how hamstrung TV station general managers are when it comes to revenue, profit, budgets and expenditures.
They must answer to a higher authority.
Woe be the station GM who raises the news ratings, but misses his revenue projections.
Although a network affiliate still reaches a significant number of viewers, that number is decreasing every year.
And most TV stations don’t get much, if any, inventory in prime except for topicals.
In most cases, TV stations’ entire outside media money is tied to their respective networks or syndication co-op programs which is spent only during the sweeps months of November, February and May.
And during that time, those outside media messages are nearly always about tuning in tonight, not news image or branding.
And during sweeps, the radio airwaves are crowded with every other station in town promoting tune-in.
As one respondent reported to TVNewsCheck‘s second annual survey of creative service directors and promotion managers commented: “It’s difficult to brand build while only spending money during the sweeps.”
If I were a TV station general manger, or a broadcast company VP or CEO, there is one area of marketing operations that needs serious attention — the retention of marketing managers and talented promo producers.
If your station’s creative services director is a keeper, and is not signed to a personal services contract to prevent them from walking across the street to your competitor, that’s a questionable business decision.
And ask any creative services director what his biggest challenge is and the likely reply will be finding and keeping talented, front-line writers, producers, editors.
If you have people in marketing that you feel are key employees, be pro-active to keep them and grow them.
Whatever you invest in them to do that, you’ll spend anyway replacing them with someone who is unproven.
Among the other suggestions marketing execs have for their general managers is to spend money to make the news product better, hold both news and marketing accountable to clearly defined goals and audit their performances often.
Here are a few interesting thoughts verbatim from the marketing execs:
Stop directing every single promo from the GM’s office.
Push for more autonomy with corporate mandates
Retain an ad agency — not a marketing consultant — to help define the brand.
I have a very supportive GM, who gives complete freedom over the creative process … based on the fact that we’ve all signed off on the plan.