How to Avoid Being Sold a Bag of (Media) Goods

By Joe Bayliss

June 9, 2016

This is not going to be a popular post with my friends in radio and television.

But everything I’m about to share with you, is true.

You can take it to the bank.

It will prevent you from ever being sold a bag of goods in the future.

And ultimately, it will save you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars.

Not to mention a lot of time, and angst.

There is a very different dynamic when a radio/tv sales rep calls you about their station, versus you reaching out to all stations in your market to potentially buy something.

In a scenario when you entertain a single station presentation, 99% of the time it’s a “package.” And that “package” is often times filled with stuff that will not generate leads. It’s stuff that the rep is paid a higher commission on. Or it’s filled with inflated rates for sponsorships, digital platforms, or very expensive commercials disguised with a fancy name.

The bottom line … you’re being sold a bag of goods.

In their defense, this is their job. It may not even be intentional.

More times than not, it’s crap.

(Image Source)

Instead of entertaining a one-off presentation from a radio or TV station, consider taking an entirely different approach.

In this second scenario, you’re going to take 3 simple steps.


First, you’re going to step back and consider what you’re trying to accomplish with your marketing budget in the first place. What’s the goal of the campaign? Who is the target? What action do you want the target to take? What potential components/platforms are you considering? What does success look like? What’s the budget? Etcetera.


Next, you’re going to speak to all viable stations in the market (that could meet your criteria). You engage them in a request for proposal (RFP) to present the best rates and ideas to accomplish your goals. And you inform them you’ll be reviewing all proposals in the next 3 days. (now they know you’re speaking to a number of stations).


And finally, there are no one on one meetings, or lunches. This enables you to objectively evaluate the market and make the best marketing decision. You only consider the platforms/components that you know will generate leads. You compare and negotiate the best price. (We’ve seen presented vs. final rates vary by as much as 50%. True story)

Do you see the difference?

In the first scenario, you’re being sold. And you’re only considering one of your options in the market.

In the second scenario, you’re making an educated media buy. You’re examining all of your options in the market. You’re comparing prices. And all stations are vying for your business.

I could give you 50+ specific examples where an advisor entertained a presentation. They invested thousands – if not $10,000 +. And they never generated one lead. They were sold a bag of goods. It’s happening in 2 of our markets right now.

This is all very logical. You need to explore all of your options. You only want to invest in specific components that will drive leads. And by talking to all stations, it will help you negotiate the very best price.

Otherwise, you could very well be getting sold down the river. And if your results are like so many people I talk to, it’s a giant waste of time and money.

“Caveat emptor!”

Let the buyer beware.

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