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  • Alec Drake

What Happened to the Four P's in Radio?

Updated: Jan 19

For many years, the mantra in broadcast marketing was the four P's of Product, Price, Promotion, and Place.

Each "P" was touted as a focus for managers to drive optimal audience levels and revenues. Sales Managers were responsible for price and its reflective role of value for the other Ps. The balance between price and value remains a critical intersection of sales success and customer acquisition.

Product or "Content" Remains King. Content, proclaimed as king, is still valid by many measures vs. the emphasis on the world of big data and scale-driven strategies. Data and scale are vital if you have content to engage and unite a community of listeners or followers. Even a strong sales team will underperform with a weak product; the product matters most of the four P's, as it drives value for consumers and companies who advertise to reach listeners. Radio must continue to invest in creators to support and reflect the quality needed to compete.

Promotion Needs a Booster. When the four Ps first arrived as a mantra for success, "Promotion" mainly was station appearances, sponsored concerts, community involvement, and guerilla marketing on the streets. Websites and streaming moved a chunk of promotional effort into the digital realm and started a journey to reaching everyone, everywhere.

Today, promotions at the local level need a booster with the importance of "local" connections that will help sustain the value of radio. Promotions are necessary enhancements to content and to support customers' campaigns.

The Big Question Around Price. While vendor software and data have penetrated beyond the early days of spreadsheets, there is still much room for negotiation in radio sales. Price management is challenging even when pricing is defined without the sales manager's involvement. Price remains at the forefront of many sales conversations, and the search for yield as traditional revenues shrink needs more attention from owners.

Effective yield management is crucial in responding to revenue pressures due to debt loads and a fluctuating and evolving marketplace. If applied evenly, terms and conditions can avoid unnecessary discounts and lost revenues.

Is One "P" Missing? The focus on "place" is in the rearview mirror with a digital revolution that moved past radio towers and physical signal limitations. Location no longer builds the same value in a physical sense as it did years ago. The battle over the tower's location and "place," as one of the four P's, is being replaced.

A "P" called profit now takes the spotlight. Profit has always been vital to growth opportunities through investment in the future of radio and media companies. Profits from adding value instead of cost-cutting are the longer-term goal. Gaining attention in the digital landscape is critical to growing profit, and podcasting, live show streaming, and video can all increase revenues.

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About The Author:

Alec Drake openly shares revenue management strategies and sales improvement ideas in the "Sales Success Library" at He is a regular contributor to Radio Ink Magazine, where he leverages four decades of experience to write about sales and management. Alec is the founder of The Radio Invigoration Project (T.R.I.P.), a support initiative for local radio sales and promotion staff.

Drake Media Group, LLC retains exclusive rights to any original content in articles written by Alec Drake or published on any third-party platforms and featured in any podcast.

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