A Washington DC Marketing Strategy Q&A With WTOP's Mary Kay LeMay

Posted by DC Marketing Pro on October 8, 2013 at 10:09 AM

Washington DC MarketingDC Marketing Pro recently sat down with Mary Kay LeMay.  For the past 13 years, she has been Director of Marketing and Advertising for WTOP Radio, WTOP.com and FederalNewsRadio.com.  Handling the marketing for these 3 properties provides us a unique look at the different marketing strategies and tactics for similar, but different products.  WTOP Radio is a well-established brand, one with massive name recognition in Washington DC.  WTOP.com is a brand extension of WTOP Radio and is growing rapidly.  FederalNewsRadio.com is hyper targeted, super niche product that requires uniquely different marketing strategy and tactics than the WTOP branded properties.  Some of her marketing can be leverage to benefit all 3 properties and some requires unique solutions.  We think this Q & A will be helpful as you plan an effective marketing strategy for your company.

This is part one, of a three part series. In this portion of the interview, Mary Kay teaches us about some important marketing best practices she's learned over the years including:

  • Why you should always think about where, when, and how your product or service is consumed (the point of purchase)
  • The benefits of really understanding the demographics and psychographics of your target audience 
  • Utilizing online advertising in a unique way to fit your audience
  • The importance of reevaluating what is and isn't working — and adjusting accordingly

DCMarktingPro.comMary Kay, Can we start by getting an understanding of what marketing elements you have found successful over the years for WTOP and WTOP.com.  

Mary Kay LeMay:   The one thing that has been consistently successful is outdoor advertising, namely bus tails, “Kongs” (which is on the side of the bus…from wheel to wheel) and Headliners (the side of buses and graphic along the top side.  Given that 95% of our audience consumes our on-air product in-car, and we are the leading traffic provider for the Washington DC area, buying outdoor in key commuting areas gives us brand exposure and provides a definitive call-to-action for users.  They can press their radio button and/or go to our website for immediate information.

In addition, we have a similar presence at the local sports venues.  You can’t miss our moments of exclusivity with our “ring of digital signage” at Nationals Park.  Or the dasher boards signage at the sold out Verizon Center for the Capitals games.  Or the digital scoreboard signage at the Wizards games.  The demographics of those attending these games are very similar to those of our listeners.  Not only do we form a positive association with their favorite sports teams, but we also reach a captured audience with creative messaging.

Even with mobile devices continuing to further penetrate our media usage and our lives, outdoor still is effective.  A recent Arbitron study comparing the correlation between out-of-home advertising and online activations found that outdoor is a very successful medium for online activations.  So as our product platforms of distribution continue to grow, this form of advertising is still helpful in reaching people everywhere. Online advertising using targeted banner placement, usage of google text ads (with keywords), and a social media strategy has also been successful for us in the past.

For the Google text ads, we look for stories on our website that have a strong local interest and then use specific keywords in the body of the ad to drive traffic to them.  Once we get them to our site, we have elements designed to keep viewers there.  For social, we have found contests to be effective in growing our Facebook likes.  For example, we offered $1,035 in cash as a prize.  You had to “like” WTOP.com to be able to enter.  The more likes, the more WTOP information is fed into our listeners/viewers news feeds on Facebook.  We see a direct correlation between likes and our website traffic as Facebook becomes a top referring URL when we focus on it.

DCMarktingPro.comHow about some of the marketing and advertising you have found either doesn't work well or doesn’t work as well as it once did?

LeMay:  We used to use quite a bit of television.  And for many advertisers, TV is a very effective medium.  But recently for us, it has not proven to not be as successful as in the past.  Viewing habits have changed and people are using the medium very differently. Our marketing was focused around advertising in the local news products vs. prime time.  And we found that these audiences are being diluted, and because of that, it’s much more difficult to reach and measure its effectiveness.

Stay tuned for parts two and three of this Q & A with Mary Kay LeMay, Director of Marketing and Advertising for WTOP Radio, WTOP.com and FederalNewsRadio.com.

Creating the best marketing strategy for your Washington DC area business isn’t easy and the last thing any marketer wants to do is make a common marketing mistake. That’s why we’ve created the eBook, Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Every Washington DC Business Should Avoid. This guide walks you through the most common marketing and advertising mistakes and explains how to avoid them. Download the Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Every Washington DC Business Should Avoid and make your marketing more effective today.

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Tags: Marketing Strategy, Digital Advertising, Mobile



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