Forums » The Round Table: Brainstorming & Problem-solving

Main Street Business Co-Op

    • 1 posts
    July 11, 2019 1:54 PM PDT

    I am looking to build a "Shop Main Street" package for a few towns in our coverage area. It would be a :60 spot, with :15s for each participating business. No competing businesses in each :60 block.


    Has anyone developed a package like this?


    I was thinking each business participating pays XX amount (basically a :60 rate divided by 4). This will give small, struggling businesses a way to get on the air without a huge investment.




    • 167 posts
    July 12, 2019 2:10 PM PDT

    We use this co-op approach with area events, festivals, et al.  And have done this as an annual -  which is what a downtown or main street shopping area really needs to do. The majority of these entities only look to do this kind of promotion for Christmas or a specific week or event. But these businesses want people to think of them all year long (TOMA).  So a selling point is branding. The most effective thing is to do this year-round -  if it can't be monthly then alternate months, regular advertising directing listeners to a single website for event information and with a map of and list by category of businesses. It may be possible to go to the organization for the area -  the City, the DBA, the CVB, the Chamber, a merchant group-  for either support (they send out an email introduction for you encouraging members to participate) or backing (they agree to pay and collect from members). Rod is correct that there will be people you can't believe turn you down -  and yet with the other neighboring businesses kicking in, that business clearly benefits by proximity. Not fair to the paying businesses but can't do anything about that.

    A jingle or formatted production with signature music, signature voice, a slogan improves the recognition of a campaign -  and encourages further use of your radio station.

    Pricing should be package  -  you have to gauge your market participation and the pool of people to participate. Everything runs BTA. A $2500 event package of X :60s or :30s, X :10s and X live mentions would require a minimum of 25 businesses paying $100 each.  An annual for $2500 a month to promote events plus image in non-event months (convenience, variety, local businesses, easy parking, hours, etc). This could involve up to 50 businesses for around $50/month. The more months they agree to the better the pricing should be because... for the benefit of your sales manager:  this is guaranteed to generate additional sales from individual businesses in this co-op because the businesses (1) get to interact with you regularly, (2) recognize your co-op-ing as support for local businesses and (3) experience what the advertising (especially annual) can do for the recognition of the area. Some will absolutely give you a nod when they decide to hold their store White Sale in January or Christmas in July Clearance in July. You have demonstrated that you are on their side. 

    • 1112 posts
    July 12, 2019 2:46 PM PDT

    Steve, our stations have put together cooperative packages such as you describe, mainly to help promote TOMA for businesses in smaller surrounding communities, and occasionally—during the holidays, for example—for businesses in our own communities (we serve two principal markets and a number of outlying smaller towns).

    When a campaign/sale hinges on the cooperation of multiple participants, it's imperative that each participant makes a solid, irrevocable commitment to it. The success of the group is directly proportional to the commitment of each member.

    In the illustration you provide, wouldn't you want some of the message to be about the importance of shopping locally, possibly 15 seconds of the 60 devoted to an opening and/or closing message, giving you time for 3 participants at 15 seconds each? Just thinking out loud.

    The "small, struggling" businesses that are truly appreciative of your efforts will rise to the occasion and recognize that the benefit they'll derive is potentially much greater than their investment; it all depends on the relevance and credibility of their message. 

    Be prepared not to get buy-in from some of the businesses that appear to need it the most. Over the years, I've run across too many self-described "struggling" businesses whose real struggle has to do with making any meaningful investment in advertising. They're quick to complain and blame others (WalMart, Amazon, competitors who are advertising effectively, etc.) but never seem willing to part with a few dollars for advertising. "It won't work" ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy for these folks.

    One of the great things about radio advertising is that even a small advertiser can establish a large presence with a subset of your audience, and that's often the starting point of a growth spurt.