JACK FLASH: E-Mail Brings Listeners to the Radio

My last column demonstrated how a small nonprofit organization successfully integrates email into every aspect of its marketing programs. Today, I’ll highlight another email marketing success story, demonstrating how channel integration can increase an email’s sucess.

When radio station 101.1 JACK FM changed its format after 33 years, Theresa Beyer, director of marketing and promotions, knew they were undertaking a huge challenge and risk.

“With the move from oldies to an adult hits format, we knew that we were losing many of the listeners and starting from scratch.” said Beyer. “Additionally, the JACK format is music intensive and has no DJs; this means we could not pre-sell or back-sell songs. We needed to go beyond the typical radio station loyal listener club to create something no other station in the country has yet something which really connected to the audience.”

Seven months later, Theresa and the JACK FM team are well on their way to achieving success, email being their lucrative weapon.

I first came across JACK FM as a consumer. Flipping through radio stations, I stopped when I heard a song I hadn’t heard in almost 20 years. It was great! The following promo directed me to the Web site to register for an email or text message, called JACK FLASH, when my favorite song was about to be played. I was both skeptical and compelled to check it out.

I was impressed with the site. It leverages email to offer a simple, yet creative, functionally. I found myself starting my own viral email campaign to show how cool this use of email is.

I registered and was thrilled when I got an email telling me my song was about to play. I turned on the radio, and there it was. I was so excited I returned to explore the site in more detail. I realized there was even more I could do with the integrated radio and email initiatives. I could see a playlist, send a song dedication, email JACK himself, and more.

The functionality clearly demonstrates how email is the key catalyst for driving success and building the brand.

JACK FLASH’s success rests on a solid technical platform. It was created and is managed by Jeff Levy from Mother USA, Inc. Levy said, “Many times, what appears simple to the user is complicated on the back end, as in the case with JACK FLASH. An automated platform had to be developed that completely interfaced with the radio station. Every time a song is cued to play, the JACK FLASH application is updated then interfaces with the user database to determine who should be sent the message.”

When asked how the JACK team came up with the idea for JACK FLASH and what advice to give to others, Beyer said, “Using email as a standalone marketing channel and as a way to tie a number of key marketing elements together is both fun and challenging. There are three key things you should keep in mind:

  • “Success requires lots of beta testing with real people, not just a group of coworkers in a room guessing what will work. While the original concepts remain the same, our tactics have morphed as a result of the testing process.

  • “Put yourself in the user’s shoes and build an experience that will benefit them. While company goals are top of mind, success only comes when the email is seen as truly benefiting the reader.
  • “Maintain a willingness to change. A successful program requires constant evolution. You owe it to your customer base to commit to making the experiences more personal and relevant — and that means change.”

So far, Beyer’s efforts have paid off. Within the first month, JACK FM amassed over 1,100 members in the JACK FLASH database. The number grows by the hour.

“We’ve got an invitation to connect to these people in their homes, on their cells, and at work in a way no other radio station in the country offers.” Beyer noted. “We’re enhancing their JACK listening experience by connecting with them on an emotional level. There’s nothing more personal than telling someone that their favorite song or artist (especially a song that brings back memories) is about to play. With JACK FLASH, we have an ongoing program that we can seamlessly tie appropriate clients into while co-branding them with the station and the music.”

Plans for increasing site and program functionality include streaming dedications on the site and artist voice mails alerting listeners when their favorite tunes are coming up on JACK.

In addition to email, JACK FM supplements its efforts with some unique event promotions, such as postcard, T-shirt, and plasma TV giveaways to promote the station.

Kudos to Beyer, Levy, and all of JACK FM. Keep up the great email work!

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

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