Radio: The Forgotten 3.7 Trillion Impression Medium

Mike Dougherty of Jelli

Romi Mahajan, co-founder of Research Access, recently interviewed Mike Dougherty (pictured above), CEO of Jelli, a cloud-based ad platform for the global radio market.

Q: Mike, tell me about radio.  I will admit not many folks are talking about it nowadays. All I hear is “social, mobile, digital.”

A: Radio continues to be a fertile medium; in fact it’s a growing one.  The power of audio to make emotional impressions and to have a lasting impact is very real and with regard to radio, the numbers prove it.  I will admit that one doesn’t read enough about the radio medium, but in reality we are talking about a spend in the US of about $17 billion a year and an advertising market of 3.7 trillion impressions!

Q: 3.7 trillion impressions? $17 billion?  Okay so we are talking 10+ percent of US advertising spend.  Why the low profile?

A: Yes, the numbers are staggering.  I think radio has a lower profile than it could because of the recent advent of social channels and digital advertising in general.  That said, radio lives in unison with other media, and it doesn’t have to be seen as an either/or. Recent studies show that radio in fact amplifies the effectiveness of online campaigns, creating 52% increased browsing and 9% increased sales vs. online alone.  In some ways, radio suffers from a perception deficit–it’s a powerful medium with high loyalty and high recall but doesn’t get as much “airplay” (pardon the pun) as it should.

Q: What is Jelli doing to change that profile and to promote radio and audio as core media?

A: Where Jelli fits in is bridging the gap between the radio medium and the world of digital.  Jelli aims to connect the two and make the process of radio ad buying, processing, measuring, tweaking, and re-measuring much simpler for all parties.  Put simply Jelli makes radio even more effective, with the power of the set of tools that digital gives us.

Q: In your conception what should the radio medium mean to a marketer?  How about someone who conducts marketing research or market research?

A: To me, marketers who are interested in large-scale, loyal and somewhat captive audiences should embrace radio as a medium.  Billions of people worldwide and hundreds of millions in the US listen to radio often for several hours a day.  We spend collectively hundreds of billions of hours in our cars in our commutes, and radio is the best way for marketers to reach us at that time of day. In addition, the audio sensation is a lasting, emotional one.  I believe strongly that marketers who wish to drive awareness, loyalty, scale, and brand elevation need to think more about using radio as a vector to get there.  Similarly with market research, I think that using the radio mechanism to garner real and meaningful feedback and information is a huge area of opportunity and I applaud any company that goes after that particular method.

Q: Can you walk us through the relationship between brands, radio companies and agencies?  Where does Jelli intervene to make this whole process easier?

A: For agencies, Jelli becomes a true partner, helping to deliver the goals for their clients. Specifically we are proven to deliver much higher compliance in airing the campaigns, and thus a better ROI aligned with client goals. In addition, we move the agency from “paper” driven reporting process, taking weeks or months to determine clearance, to a real-time dashboard that tracks radio spots as they air on stations nationwide. For brands, we can align media investment with goals – track radio spots running in Boston against Boston sales, in real-time, making radio more accountable and measurable than ever before. Finally, for radio companies we eliminate mistakes and waste at the local station level, reduce reporting costs, and speed up cash flow, making it easier than ever to work with national advertisers.

Q: Is there an ROI story you can point to regarding Jelli?  Is that the ultimate draw for advertisers?

A: We’ve enabled high ROI for our partners. In the case of radio networks, we can drive over 500% return on investment in our platform. In the case of advertisers, the radio medium already has a great ROI, returning over $7 for every dollar invested, and with Jelli we can improve on that return by over 20%. The real-time reporting also provides significant value to the agencies and brands.

Q: Given all I am hearing, would you consider Jelli a radio ad platform?

A: Absolutely.  We aim to be a platform that helps with whole industry transform itself into a very relevant, top medium for consumers, advertisers, and the companies that serve them.

Q: Can you leave us with some predictions please? Will radio grow? And if so, how will Jelli facilitate and benefit from that process?

A: We believe there is a multi-billion dollar opportunity, using platforms like Jelli, to unlock significant growth in radio and even pull in advertisers who have never advertised on radio, or who have not done so in a while. Programmatic buying of radio will be unlocked in the next few years. In addition, as radio shifts to streaming audio, when our cars are connected, audio advertising will become one of the largest segments of all of mobile advertising, and a huge opportunity to publishers and brands alike.

Romi Mahajan is a globally-renowned marketer, IT and strategy thinker, and author. His career is a storied one, including spending 9 years at Microsoft, being the first CMO of Ascentium, a leading digital agency, and founding the KKM Group, a boutique advisory firm focused on strategy and marketing.  Romi has also authored two books on marketing–the latest one can be found here. A prolific writer and speaker, Mahajan lives in Bellevue, WA, with his wife and two kids.

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About Romi Mahajan

Romi Mahajan is a globally-renowned marketer, IT and strategy thinker, and author.

His career is a storied one, including spending 9 years at Microsoft, being the first CMO of Ascentium, a leading digital agency, and founding the KKM Group, a boutique advisory firm focused on strategy and marketing. Romi has also authored two books on marketing: most recently, "To Thine Own Self: Honesty in Marketing".

A prolific writer and speaker, Mahajan lives in Bellevue, WA, with his wife and two kids.

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