Friday, May 15, 2009

Person to Person Radio? For a price.........

An unemployed software engineer took an unconventional tactic in hopes of landing a new job during these challenging times. For that, he is to be congratulated. A Hopkinton MA area man got so frustrated in his job search that he personally spent $1,500 on a local radio campaign to convince an employer to hire him. I don't know yet whether or not this effort was successful.

Since I comment about radio and marketing (and for that matter have done my share of the unconventional over the years), I find the need to think this through from all sides.

From a radio standpoint, I understand why a station would accept this. They need the money and all this guy needs is for one employer to hire him, and they have a true success story from an advertiser. Yet, accepting a "one person" commercial could make the station sound "small time" when aired along with spots for local and multi-million dollar businesses. Granted, WCRB-FM (the classical music station airing the spots) serves a small marketplace.

Yet, from a marketing standpoint, the radio station could have done better than this. Sorry, but airing a "one person" ad makes them seem desparate to sell air time. If I were the sales rep there or Sales Manager, here is what I would have done instead.

I would have checked my list of current and past advertisers in search of an employment agency or temp service. If I found one, I would contact them and tell them I have a candidate in need of work to the point of wanting to buy time on the station. I would tell that employment agency contact that it would make a great testimonial for us (the station) and the agency if the agency could find him a position without this guy having to buy the time on the station. And then the agency buy that air time to promote specifically how WCRB helps find local jobs.

The result would be the station creates a market exclusive advertising campaign, retains or recaptures another advertiser (which could go long term, not a few days), and the station and employment agency generate favorable publicity. While that guy becomes the station's most loyal listener for life and tells everyone he can what they did for him. The employment agency gets a commission for placing the guy (which I'm guessing covers their radio campaign cost!!), and they all live happily ever after.

What employment agency or temp firm is going to advertise on that station after hearing an individual advertising because he can't find a job?

Meanwhile, I realize the guy buying the spots also did it for the publicity of calling attention to his need for a job (which is how I found out about this), so in some respects he got more than $1,500 in publicity for his money. On the other hand, I'm 1,000 miles away so I can't help him, and that is probably the case with a lot of the publicity he generated.

While I admire his creativity, I would think it could have been put to better use. For $1,500 he could have used some other approaches. He could have invited several identified employers to a lunch presentation, started a web site to feature the software he has designed and worked on in the past, created and printed brochures for distribution, and the list goes on.

And if he doesn't get a job from his $1,500 local radio campaign, he has nothing to show for his efforts.

And hopefully that radio station, and others, will be able to do better than this for creativity.

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