iHeartMedia - Award for Innovation in Sales

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Company: iHeartMedia, Inc., New York, NY
Company Description: iHeartMedia, Inc., was founded in San Antonio, TX with the purchase of a single radio station in 1972. After decades of growing media assets globally, the company has become one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies, operating as iHeartMedia, Inc. iHeartMedia, Inc., consists of two main media businesses: Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings and the wholly owned iHeartMedia.
Nomination Category: Sales Awards Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Award for Innovation in Sales

Nomination Title: iHeartMedia Inside Sales

Tell the story about your organization's innovations in sales or business development since the beginning of July 2015 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

With 245 million monthly listeners in the U.S., iHeartMedia has the largest reach of any radio or television outlet in America. The company owns and operates 850 broadcast radio stations, serving more than 150 markets throughout the U.S. Plus, iHeartRadio - a free, industry-leading, digital music service - gives users instant access to more than 2,000 live radio stations and allows them to create custom stations inspired by favorite artists or songs, anywhere they are.

“What if we try this” is a phrase that can be heard often within iHeartMedia’s Inside Sales Team. These are some of our most successful:

Programmatic Launch

iHeartMedia has created an innovative and more-efficient way to buy and sell media, many of which around the media landscape are calling the “dot com” boom of the radio industry. The traditional way of buying and selling radio - on a “spots and dots” basis (i.e. buying a set number of commercials or spots per day part) - is evolving and iHeartMedia is leading the charge.

iHeartMedia has developed a programmatic buying platform that uses an algorithm to find the cheapest rates for our clients, optimizing the radio schedule in the most cost-efficient manner possible. This allows our clients to reach many more listeners (hundreds of thousands in some cases) for the same investment level as a “traditional” radio campaign with iHeartMedia.

Programmatic buying/selling has three key aspects associated with it – enhanced (custom) audiences, the ability to create, order, and traffic broadcast radio schedules using our SpotPlan tool, and the ability to monitor and manage an in-flight campaign using the RadioDash tool. This type of insight into a customer’s radio campaign, where the client can manage and adjust in real time, has never been available before. The programmatic buying platform reduces the amount of work necessary to produce and deliver optimized schedules for iHeartMedia and our clients, by automating orders, and providing our clients access to real time visibility into their advertising campaigns’ performance. Within the first 3 months of launch, the iHeartMedia National Inside Sales team has generated over $355K in net revenue sold utilizing this new platform.

Audience Packages

The iHeartMedia National Inside Sales team has created a more effective manner in which sell our inventory to clients who are new to radio (i.e. first time radio buyers). Many radio schedules are purchased and negotiated on metrics that only advanced media buyers are familiar with (GRPs, CPP, etc.). The Inside Sales team has structured our inventory in a way that makes the buying process much simpler for first time advertisers. We have created three “packages” for our first time to radio clients: Start-Up,” “Growth,” and “Enterprise.”

The idea behind our packages is selling a set amount of impressions, or total number of “ad listens” a client will receive throughout the duration of their campaign. Each package consists of a different number of total impressions at a different price point. It is much easier for a first time radio advertiser to understand the concept of how many people they will be reaching for a set investment level and make an educated purchase decision based on only this factor. The creation of our packages has made it much easier to sell to first time radio buyers and develop long lasting relationships over time. Our goal is to have clients renew their current package with us or buy a higher number of total impressions (i.e. upgrade from the “Start-Up” to the “Growth” package) to make an even larger impact on our audience. Since launching in February of this year, the iHeartMedia National Inside Sales team has generated over $474K in net revenue in “Packages” sold.

These are only a few of the ideas and partnerships that Inside Sales has created to grow and succeed as a newer team within iHeartMedia. We will continue to try new methods and look forward to seeing more results and innovation in 2017.