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Chris Miller

Getting Digital to Work For Your Clients


<b>(by Chris Miller)</b> If the future is digital, then theres always another potential unknown pitfall ahead in the dark. Theres always something new that we dont know about, or that someone could use against us or is that really the case? <i>The future is not digital; the future is the same as its always been,</i> according to former PD turned digital expert Craig Ashwood. <i>Relationships with clients and listeners</i> is what will fuel our success Ashwood told me in a recent interview.  

Ashwood has has focused exclusively on digital for radio, TV, and newspapers for the last twelve years. He got into digital after a radio career as a major market PD, seller and on-air talent. People rush lemming-like towards technology, Ashweed says, advising against tossing out our core competencies.  After years as a programmer, Ashwood says if someone asked him how radio works, hed say, Magic! In other words, he didnt need to know how it worked. He knew how to create results with it. Its the same thing with our new digital tools and platforms.

A CNA is a Client Needs Analysis, not a Client Wants Analysis, Ashwood points out. With a quiver full of effective arrows, we need to go solve marketing problems and get results for our customers, whether its on the air or online. Before meeting with new clients, its easy to learn how knowledgeable and comfortable they are with technology by seeing what their business is doing online and checking their Facebook or Twitter profiles. When meeting with them (especially direct clients) ask them about their online activities, such as what do they like to do or use, or if there are any friends or relatives that have influenced them."

Ashwood then suggests you find out about their global, strategic business goals. Even if theyre hoping you can create a special website game that their nephew thought of, focus them on what they want to accomplish and what tools you already have that you can plug them into that will get them proven results.

Ashwood uses the example of a client having a special weekend sale. Knowing that the people who listen to your stream are mostly your P1s, who value your brand more than others, you can run a saturation schedule on your inserted ad stream, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and get them tremendous bang for their buck with the people most likely to like and act on your message.

Accountability and usability are two important words for the future. Were far more accountable selling digital, because everything can be measured. In addition, management needs to be accountable for the development and use of digital platforms. Ashwood says he still hears major market programmers say things like, I dont care about the stream, to show that the top people need to adopt and champion digital tools.

In radio, its in our DNA that we have a tendency to keep promoting, Ashwood says, and what gets lost [on the web] is the usability. People ignore that at their peril. If you do a great job marketing a client, putting together a campaign using all your platforms, but then you link to their site you go to the main page instead of a page to register for a particular contest youve hurt both yourself and your client.

Contact Craig Ashwood at 404-455-1764 or

Chris Miller has been a major-market PD in Atlanta, Portland and Cleveland. He now operates Chris Miller Digital, which he launched. Visit his website at
Contact Chris via e-mail, or 216-236-3955.