Serving Two Masters: the Radio Station and the Radio Advertising Client

  • Serving Two Masters: the Radio Station and the Advertising Client

    Radio advertising salespeople serve two masters: their radio stations and their advertising clients. A salesperson's paycheck is written on the radio station's bank account. But the station's account depends entirely on the dollars that come from its advertising clients.

    Who, ultimately, is the salesperson's "boss?"

    I’ve pondered this relationship for many, many years—the interlocking, occasionally conflicting relationship between “making goal” (putting the station’s needs first) and “serving the customer” (putting the client’s needs first).

    It's too simplistic to say that these are (or should be) one-and-the-same. They’re not.

    How should the salesperson serve his two masters, station and client? Each has his own priorities and objectives, his own self-interests.

    We can bring the two objectives into closer alignment (though never perfectly) by investing in our salespeople, e.g., offering training in the arts of advertising, copywriting, and related marketing skills—and not just sales training, important as it may be—and then by empowering and encouraging them to evaluate, objectively, whether a particular schedule, campaign, or package is truly in the client’s best interest.

    Short-term, budget-driven thinking tends in too many cases to reduce the client to a mere means to an end. (This may be the flip-side of thinking of Radio advertising as just another commodity.)

    Taking the longer view—and this has been my experience in the second half of a career spanning nearly forty years—giving the client the benefit of the doubt and choosing his interests over the station’s when there’s a conflict, is a surer way to cultivate durable, longstanding relationships built on trust, respect, and honesty—a foundation far more likely in the long run to benefit the station as well.

1 comment
  • Woody Woodward
    Woody Woodward This is a very interesting topic, as a station owner I have always felt that the salesperson is responsible to the client to make their business successful and responsible to the station by making reasonable numbers of presentations. While the client is King, getting clients is the salespersons primary function. I believe it is not only possible to serve two masters but necessary. - Woody Woodward
    January 19, 2011