Editorial: Change Your Value or Change The Audience: The Choice is Yours

Jim MathisBy: Jim Mathis, IPCS, CSP, MDiv
J&L Mathis Group, Inc.

“Obstacles are necessary for success because in selling, as in all careers of importance, victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats.” -Og Mandino

Alexander the Great
I heard a story about Alexander III of Macedon many years ago that Dr. James Kennedy told. Alexander was one of the most famous generals and rulers in the history of Western Civilization, earning him the name, “Alexander the Great.”

During his short life (33 years), he rose to power and conquered territory from Europe and North Africa to the borders of India. Military schools still teach some of his tactics used in battles.

One evening after a fierce battle, he was walking around the army encampment when he found a soldier sleeping on duty. The Macedonian King awoke the lad and told him the
penalty for this was death.

The boy was scared and crying. The commander paused for a moment and seemed to take pity on the lad who was sniffling and whining before him. You could hear a pin drop.

“What is your name, boy?” Alexander asked.  “A, A, A, Alexander, sir.” The boy said meekly…. “What is your name, I said!” Alexander said louder. “Alexander,” the boy said with a little more volume. “WHAT IS YOUR NAME!!!???” Alexander the Great shouted with anger.
“ALEXANDER, SIR!” The boy said with his eyes closed screaming.
Alexander the Great commanded, “Then change your name, or change your conduct!”

The king didn’t want anyone bearing his name to be known as a slacker in his army.

Like the young man, you are at a crossroads in sales. You have to make a choice between two opposing forces. You need to change the value that people see in what you sell, OR change the audience you sell to. It doesn’t get simpler than that.

“If someone likes you, they’ll buy what you’re selling, whether or not they need it.” -Gene Simmons

Either people see value in you, or your product and services, or they don’t. Whenever I hear someone use the “lack” word in sales and revenues, it all goes back to a lack of value on the buyer’s part. I sell only to people who see value in what I am selling… and so do you.

Why did the Toyota Scion go out of production recently? Lack of value among enough buyers to keep it on the market. Why did Encyclopedia Britannica quit publishing? Lack of value among readers and buyers. Why did my local Sports Authority go out of
business? Lack of value among sports enthusiasts.

But Toyota makes one of the most popular cars in existence… the Camry. Wikipedia and Google are staying in business among readers looking for information. Dick’s Sporting Goods is still in business. The reason is these companies present a value in purchasing and usage that the first group lost, or let go of.

“In the early 19th century, they tried selling soap as healthy. No one bought it. They tried selling it as sexy, and everyone bought it.” -Rose George

If your sales are sagging, first look at the value people see in what you sell. Do they choose someone else who is cheaper? Do they choose another seller who costs more and delivers more? Do they choose another company who meets their actual needs better?

If you can’t change your value, maybe you should change the audience or customers you sell to. Maybe your base market has “dried out.” Maybe your “buffalo have roamed to another greener pasture.” Maybe the industry has shut down. The past eight years have been tough on several industries: coal, oil, healthcare, banking… and the list goes on.

“I would sell 2 million records; a million went to teenagers and a million went to the adults. So, when The Beatles became so popular, I lost a million to the teenagers, but I was still selling a million to the adults.” -Bobby Vinton

Like Bobby Vinton, Johnny Cash learned to find the right audience and sold to it. Cash realized from fan mail that he was a hit with men in prison, so he recorded albums live from prisons and they sold millions of copies and reshaped his image in the music business.

Vinton realized his audience was no longer the teenagers, but that made him focus on adults. He laughs all the way to the bank… and back again!

Heraclitus said over 2,500 years ago, “There is nothing permanent but change!” When I cannot work with industries that have been crippled by economic conditions, government regulations or shifts in the market, I alter the focus to other groups who need the same message of Reinvention. Everyone can reinvent and should every few years. If you don’t need to now, just wait… Your time is coming!

“Nobody has really grasped yet the great wealth that can be made selling data over the Web. There are 100 million potential customers out there.” -Michael J. Saylor

In sales, your challenge is to either identify a value people see readily and will buy like candy bars at the checkout lane, or identify an audience who will want the value you sell.

For instance, I am always meeting corporate leaders who are trying to sell the same products in the same way to the Millennial Generation. They haven’t come to grips that this generation values and buys differently from the previous generations they sold to so easily. Some people have figured it out, while others are still struggling with changing their business models.

“I know people said I wasn’t selling out in America, but that was entirely untrue. We sold out all over the world, and every night I looked out into the fans… that you’re talking about, the tears, the honesty, the inability to not be completely overjoyed because they
felt accepted.” -Lady Gaga

Notice that Lady Gaga identified values that her audiences were seeking: personal honesty and the lack of personal acceptance.  Why do you think Bernie Sanders, Justin Trudeau, and Donald Trump are resonating in a political world that was all but turned off of politics just a few years ago? What values or audiences have they tapped into that has put them on the front pages of papers around the world? People have felt that their everyday needs were being met by these candidates’ messages, so they flocked to them in large numbers.

What can you do to improve your value (message) and experience that reaches people uniquely? John Sculley said, “As a brand marketer, I’m a big believer in ‘branding the customer experience,’ not just selling the service.” Is the experience you deliver on a
consistent basis a value that people will get excited about (and pay more for)?

What can you change in your focus to reach people who aren’t being reached adequately? Charles Kelley said, “I feel like fans who like old Southern rock and country, and more lyric-driven songs in general, have come to country radio. I think that’s why you see country radio growing and albums selling: People are craving a little more of the singer/songwriter stuff going on in country.”

Kelley identified a group of people who have migrated from one musical medium to another to receive value. If you listen to mainstream country music today, it isn’t what it used to be. It sounds more like a blend of Southern Rock and “Rockabilly” music from
the 1990s.

Let’s make this interactive! Here are several quotes from people who succeeded in displaying the right value to the right audience. Read each quote and tell me if it is based on changing the value, or changing the audience. You will see that the results were successful once they identified the change each person needed to make.

• “I’m not good at selling laptops. I’m good at selling ideas.” -Nicholas Negroponte
• “I love to meet my fans, and after every show I usually hang out for a few hours, talking to my fans, signing autographs, and selling T-shirts.” -Tommy Chong
• “We’re in the business of selling pleasure. We don’t sell handbags or haute couture. We sell dreams.” -Alain Wertheimer
• “Art is making something out of nothing and selling it.” -Frank Zappa

Permission is granted to reprint this article provided the following paragraph is included in full: Jim Mathis, IPCS, CSP, MDiv. is The Reinvention PRO™, an International Platform Certified Speaker, Certified Speaking Professional and best-selling author of Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results. To subscribe to his free professional development newsletter, please send an email to: subscribe@jimmathis.com with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject. An electronic copy will be sent out to you every month. For more information on how Jim and his programs can benefit your organization or group, please call 888-688-0220, or visit his web site: www.jimmathis.com. © 2016

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of the above article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

Traffic Director Spotlight: Juli Morgan

JuliMorgan_300Juli Morgan 
WCSR-AM/FM, Hillsdale

Juli Morgan is not only the Traffic Director for WCSR, but also is Office Manager, Account Executive, and On-Air Talent! 

Q1: Favorite comfort food?
Juli:  Pretty much any carbs.

Q2: Which Superhero would you be and why?
Juli:  Wonder Woman – she was my hero as a child, and I just love a superhero portrayed as a smart, strong, confident, and beautiful woman.

Q3: When I’m not working, I’d rather be…
Juli:  Outside on a nice day or working on my house.

Q4: If I had the chance, I’d really like to have lunch with…
Juli:  Mother Teresa.

Q5: What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Career-wise, my first week at Specs Howard, my instructor, Jim Bell, stressed that if we didn’t have a genuine love for people, we needed to get out of the business right then. I went home and cried because I honestly didn’t know if I had that love, but I stuck with it and realized how many people we help on a regular basis in broadcasting. I think you really can’t work in the trenches and be content unless you want to help people as a big part of your job.

Q6: Tell us something about yourself that very few people know.
I have a strong personality and confidence, but I have a very hard time engaging in or initiating confrontation.

Engineering Spotlight: Shawn Hoskey, CMU Public Broadcasting

Nominate an engineer you know!  Email Alisha Clack at clack@michmab.com.

Hoskey_300Shawn Hoskey
Operations Supervisor for Central Michigan University Public Broadcasting.

Brief Engineering Resume:

  • Graduated from Delta College in 1995 with an associates degree in Broadcasting – Radio and Television.
  • Worked at 93.3 WKQZ-FM as a part-time on-air talent for three years in the mid-90s.
  • Worked for some Delta college public broadcasting and freelance work for Hardy Commutations (Dow in Midland) from 94-97.
  • I taught a year of audio operations as an adjunct professor at Delta College.
  • Worked for WNEM-TV (Saginaw) in engineering from July 1997 until December 2009. Jobs included MCR, VTR editor, Uplink operator, editor, Audio operator and Technical Director for live news.
  • Have been with Central Michigan University Public Broadcasting since December 2009.
  • I also volunteer with technical operations audio and video at my church.

Q: How did you get started in broadcast engineering?
Shawn:  I spent a year in college in Grand Rapids with no major. I volunteered for a campus-wide talent show having no actual talent to perform anything, so I helped with the tech and really loved the idea that even though I was not on stage, I helped to make it happen. I started in television audio production, but as my career moved forward, I rapidly found myself working more in engineering. I have always loved the bridge between the creativity of production and the technical “nuts and bolts” of making it happen. Engineering is in of itself an art form.

Tell us something about yourself that very few people know…
Shawn:   I am a huge board gamer . I even have a 10-foot conference room table in my living room for me and my “nerd” friends to gather around to play weekly “nerd” poker.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Shawn:  “Making the right decision does not define maturity (we are all human and make mistakes). Rather, it is how you take responsibility for the decisions you make that define maturity.”  -Ruth Sission, my family living teacher in grade 12.

FCC Announces Details of May 24 Reverse Auction Workshop

fcc-logo_dark-blueAccording to the Broadcast Law Blog, the FCC released a Public Notice outlining the agenda for the May 24 workshop to explain the process of bidding in the reverse auction. The May 24 Workshop will be held at the FCC’s offices and will also be streamed live on the Internet . The workshop, scheduled from 10 AM to 1 PM Eastern, will cover the process for bidding and will review the bidding software itself. Prior to the workshop, an online tutorial will be available that includes an overview of the bidding software and a review of the bidding procedures that bidders should understand in order to participate in the auction.

NAB Thanks Congress For Opposing Performance Royalty With Ad

NAB_thanksThe National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is running an ad in Capitol Hill newsletters and publications thanking more than 250 members of the U.S. House and Senate for co-sponsoring the Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposes any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charges on local broadcast radio stations. The resolution, which was introduced in Congress in February 2015, has 230 co-sponsors in the House and 26 in the Senate.

FCC Announces June 24 Effective Date for Radio Online Public Inspection File; New System For TV

David Oxenford - ColorBy: David Oxenford, Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP

On May 13, the FCC issued a Public Notice that the obligation will begin on June 24 to start uploading documents to the online public file for radio stations in the Top 50 markets. For Top 50 market commercial radio stations that are part of employment units with 5 or more full-time employees, the June 24 date will mark the start of their obligation to upload materials to the online public file. New public file documents (including political file documents) created on or after that date are to be placed in the online public file. These stations will have 6 months from the effective date (until December 24, 2016) to upload to the online public file existing documents that are already in their paper public file. This would include documents like EEO Public Inspection File Reports and Quarterly Issues Programs Lists. Pre-effective date political file documents need not be uploaded. Letters from the public also do not need to be uploaded (see our article here about the FCC’s proposal to entirely do away with the requirement that letters be kept). We wrote more extensively about the obligations for the radio online public inspection file here.

TV, too, needs to pay attention to this notice. The Public Notice announces that the online public file will be moving to a new database. Effective on June 24, TV licensees will need to use this new database too – what the FCC calls the “OPIF” (for expanded online public inspection file) as opposed to the old “BPIF” (“broadcast public inspection file”). The FCC suggests that the new OPIF database will allow for easier uploads – including the ability to upload a single document into multiple stations’ files at the same time. It will also have a more user-friendly interface, and will work better with other online systems like Dropbox and Box. This database moves these files off the FCC server and onto a cloud-based storage system. Stations can already try out the new system here.

The FCC is planning a webinar on the online public file on a date to be announced in the near future.

The FCC also reminded TV stations to make sure that Joint Sales Agreements are uploaded into their public file by both the broker and the licensee. A recent GAO study suggested that many TV stations had failed to upload Joint Sales Agreements as required by the rules. The FCC warning indicates that the failure to upload these documents could lead to fines, and notes that stations need to report any late filings on their next license renewal application.

The effective date also applies to cable systems with 1,000 or more subscribers, DBS providers, as well as SDARS licensees (i.e. Sirius XM).

With the upcoming election, these files will no doubt be subject to scrutiny. So be ready to comply with this new obligation by next month’s effective date.

The MAB is planning a Webex meeting with David Oxenford on this topic.  Details to be announced soon.

House Passes Public Threat Alert System

capitol3The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a public threat alert system in an effort to “lessen the scale of future tragedies.”

House Bill 5442 passed 106-2 and would require the Department of State Police to establish and maintain a public threat alert system plan to activate as called for under departmental policies. The plan would be designed to rapidly distribute information to radio and television stations in the state and send text messages to wireless communication devices. The bill states that the public threat alert system plan shall be activated only in accordance with the policies created by the Michigan State Police. HB 5442 contains no mandates for broadcasters.

WPBN/WTOM-TV Hosts Town Hall Meeting

WPBN_400On May 4, WPBN/WTOM-TV (Traverse City), along with Northern Michigan Regional entity and UpNorthLive.com, presented Finding a Solution, a Prescription Drug Abuse Town Hall Meeting at the Dennos Museum Center’s Milliken Auditorium in Traverse City.

The discussion focused on prevention and included use and misuse of prescription opiates, and the rising trend of illicit opiate use and overdoses.

WPBN/WTOM-TV News Anchors Marc Schollett and Kristen Lowe moderated the discussion and WGTU/WGTQ-TV (Traverse City) News Anchor Jamie Innis provided updates throughout the meeting on UpNorthLive’s Facebook and Twitter feeds.

MABF Scholarship Winners Announced

View More: http://benjamindavidphotography.pass.us/mabglbc2016At the Great Lake Broadcasting Conference (GLBC) Main Luncheon and Student Awards event, the MAB Foundation (MABF) with support from the MAB and large donors, were able to present $27,000 in scholarships to deserving college students.  In addition, scholarships were awarded from many companies, individuals and stations.

General Scholarship Recipients

Kylie Ambu, Spring Harbor University
William Corbett, Lansing Community College
Natalie Henderson, Central Michigan University
Heather Irvine, Eastern Michigan University
Noah Jurik, Hope College
Charlie Kadado, Wayne State University
Chris Martin, Ferris State University
Brandon Neal, Adrian College

Station Scholarship Recipients

Phylisha Drayton, University of Detroit Mercy – WXYZ-TV Broadcasting Scholarship
Robert E. Tomlinson III, Western Michigan University – Midwest Communications Scholarship
Aisha Carter, University of Michigan – Robert Race Memorial Broadcasting Scholarship

High School Scholarship Recipients

Joseph DeBaradino, DeLasalle Collegiate High School
Ilene Gould, Rockford High School

Named Scholarship Recipients

Catherine Drabicki, Western Michigan University – Carl E. Lee Scholarship

Shandria Maxwell, Henry Ford Community College – Charles D. Fritz Scholarship

Glenn Himawan, Michigan Tech University and Dane Wurmlinger, Northern Michigan University – WBKB-TV, WBKP-TV, WBUP-TV, WOLV-FM, WCCY-AM, WHKB-FM & The Stephen A. Marks Foundation Scholarship

Jillian Borowski, University of Michigan – Nancy Waters and Mark Waters Scholarship

Jeremy Nelson, Specs Howard School of Media Arts – Charles D. Mefford Scholarship

Josephine Nyounai, Michigan State University – Gary A. Reid Scholarship

Valerie Dorn, Michigan State University – James H. Quello Scholarship

Isaac Constans, Michigan State University – Leicinger Biederman Scholarship

Joshua Scramlin, Justin Steward, Hannah Vogel and Dana Whyte, Central Michigan University – Dr. Peter Orlink Broadcast Scholarships

Regan Blissett, Grand Valley State University – Jerry P. Colvin Scholarship

Jake Rapanotti, Oakland University – Alan W. Frank Scholarship

Caleb L. Gordon, Michigan State University – Friends of Bill Burton Scholarship


MAPB Elects New Officers

The Michigan Association of Public Broadcasters (MAPB) elected the 2016 Officers of the Board of Directors during a board meeting held on March 7.

The newly elected officers include:

President: Eric Smith, Director of Broadcasting, Northern Michigan University Public Broadcasting

Vice-President: Gary Reid, Michigan State University Public Broadcasting

Treasurer: Steve Schram, Michigan Public Media

Secretary: Michelle Srbinovich, WDET Public Radio

For more information about MAPB and the board members please visit our website at www.michmab.com/MAPB.