Constraints – Erickson Media




This is counter-intuitive


Years ago, seems almost a lifetime from this perspective, I faced a challenge at a station I was programming.

I needed a big, fun, cume-building, word-of-mouth-spreading promotion but I had ZERO budget.

Not a small budget. Nothing.

Luckily for me, I had a marketing and promotions genius on my team, Suzy Le Clair.

We talked about our problem and I set her loose.

She emerged a few days later with one of the best promotions I was ever part of…

She’d arranged, through Australia’s tourism board, for our station to send our highly-rated Morning Show to Sydney and for Sydney to send it’s highest-rated Morning Show to Denver, for one week.

They picked up all the airfare costs.

We arranged hotel trade (remember when we could do that?) and land expenses (also traded) and did NO pre-publicity for this.

On a Monday morning, our listeners in Denver woke up to strange voices speaking in a strange accent as if they had always been there. Denver content but unknown voices.

And their listeners in Sydney woke to the same strangeness there.

After an hour or so, we put both teams on the air at the same time (no easy feat then, given time differences) to explain, and then proceeded to give away 30 trips for two to Australia for our listeners, and 30 trips to Colorado for theirs.

A few phone calls and favors called in by Suzy led to fantastic TV and newspaper coverage locally and regionally.

It was tremendously popular and it cost us nothing. Not one dollar.

Oh, yeah, and both stations boosted their ratings, especially the morning shows.

I share this because I saw something from the people behind The Do Lectures that reminded me: constraints can lead to the best ideas!

When we have no alternatives, no easy ways out (cash giveaways, bland and boring TV spots. etc.) and we are blessed with super creatives on our team, great ideas are the result.

So, while I will continue to advocate for bigger actual marketing campaigns for Radio, cume-building campaigns designed to remind people why most listeners love us, I am also aware of the power of ideas created when that money is not there.

No budget. No excuses.

Surprise me. Delight me. Give me a reason to talk about what you’re doing.

That’s the magic of Radio.