Interview with Promotions Guru Barbra Tabnick

Second in our “Get to Know Us” series of interviews is Senior Marketing Strategist and Promotions expert Barbra Tabnick. Today we are chatting about the elements of a successful promotion.

What has been your favorite promotional campaign thus far? Why?
Hmm. Tough one. There have been so many that were both fun and successful.  One that stands out was when we promoted the launch of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire with Meredith Viera.

Buena Vista Television allowed us to create a Radio Week on the show. Three stations in each of 10 markets ran one or two week promotions, all trying to find their “smartest listener.” A DJ from each station accompanied their winning listener to the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire studio in New York and all appeared on the show, some getting to play for a million dollars.

The success came in two-parts. While the DJs were in New York, they were calling back to their stations to talk about the experience on-air (ratings boost number one). Then, when the Radio Week shows aired weeks later, they again promoted an audience tune-in (ratings boost number two).

What are the top two questions you are asked by clients?

1) “How many spots will we get with the promotion?” They don’t get traditional spots. They get :10 seconds of copy that is read live by DJs when they promote the contest or give away a prize. For a recorded mention, stations typically weave our client’s :10 second copy into a :30 promo spot.

The number of mentions we will be able to negotiate depends, mainly, on the amount of available promotional inventory. The further out we can pitch a promotion, the more inventory we can secure, unless of course a station already has a big station promotion planned.

2)  “Why can’t the station do the contest exactly like we want?” Every station is different. The way they do promotions. Their willingness to deviate from standard programming. How many mentions they offer. Our job is to present them with a creative concept that fits in with their programming and caters perfectly to what the stations know their listeners enjoy.

What are the hard-to-spot promotional pitfalls that are critical for clients to avoid?

Offer stations a few different creative concepts to choose from, but also be open to their creative ideas. They know what fits best with their station and they know what their DJs will enjoy doing.

If you try too hard to fit a square peg in a round hole, you’ll be able to tell on-air. DJs won’t enjoy it. They won’t embellish when reading promotional copy. It will sound forced and, therefore, will not be as successful.

If a station passes on the promotion, ask them why. Find out what they like and what they don’t like so that you don’t send the same type of promotion again and again.

What promotion have you seen elsewhere that you would you love to implement?

I love any promotion that satisfies multiple needs. For example, a CPG company launching a new brand or initiative. Radio can not only create buzz and excitement in-programming on targeted stations, but it can drive traffic to specific retailers in each market that is supporting the launch of the product in-store. It’s a win-win for everyone involved and it’s a cost effective way to localize a national or regional initiative, both for the brand and their retail partners.

Readers, what promotion you’d like to try?

Barbra Tabnick is a Senior Marketing Strategist at The Radio Agency. Please follow The Radio Agency’s Blog “Sounding Board” by subscribing to the RSS link above. Visit our website