Radio knows its game well; but competing with cross-media brands for digital, advertising, even event dollars, requires fresh outside-the-box thinking. So is it any surprise that the top radio groups went outside the company to fill marketing chief posts? These top fresh thinkers have brought CMO expertise across the industry.
“I think the radio industry has recruited from outside because it seems to be acknowledging marketing best practices from other successful and long-thriving industries,” says Radio One’s VP of Corporate Communications Yashima White AziLove. “A marketing professional doesn’t have to grow up in radio to understand the audience, their consumption or listening patterns and where to go to reach them.” Indeed, AziLove, who serves as the media group’s national marketing executive, joined the radio industry in 2014 after six years as VP of Corporate Marketing Communications with Mercy Health System, with previous corporate communications and marketing positions with banking and insurance companies.
Entercom CMO Ruth Gaviria earned her chops as, among other things, director of Marketing and Brand Development for People En Español for nearly four years. She was then drawn to the innate power of radio, which she calls “the inception point of music discovery, local news and community engagement.”
Gavira adds, “The power of radio is undeniable, and if you look at brands like Coca-Cola, Budweiser, AT&T and McDonalds, you can see the impact of smart, engaging radio advertising. This is a story that needs to be told with killer, creative, undeniable case studies, innovative consumer insights and top-notch technology and measurement tools.”
Likewise, Gayle Troberman, who joined iHeartMedia as CMO in October 2014, came from the same role at Microsoft. As a marketer, she says, “I’ve always believed you see the same skills and the same curiosity in understanding what a consumer wants, what a consumer needs, how a consumer thinks, and understanding trends and data in a marketplace.”
She adds, “If you are successful in understanding that, you are equally qualified in national marketing for the likes of packaged goods, an automotive brand, fast food, an insurance company—or a radio company. I think the skills of marketing cross over quite a bit, so what the product is, is not as important as understanding how to get to the right insights and the right answers.”
Gaviria, whose background also includes executive VP of Corporate Marketing at Univision Communications and VP of Hispanic Ventures with Meredith Corp., acknowledges the continuing excitement of working in broadcasting. And she certainly has her pitch down for the industry: “Radio is America’s No. 1 reach medium. It’s time for media planners and advertisers to shift dollars from the increasingly fragmented world of television to radio if they want engaged consumers in an ad-friendly environment that is verified and strategic for their brands.”
Radio One’s White AziLove adds, “Long gone are the days when radio could rely solely on its airwaves and corporate avails to promote further engagement and tune-in. The marketplace is saturated with listening options and our listeners are demanding a greater listening experience, while our clients are in need of deeper customer contact. CMO-like professionals from outside of the traditional radio industry have new thinking and ideas to be leveraged and new methods to support the advantages of radio. It’s a great time to work in the broadcasting business.”