In this guest post, Scott Spiegel shares his feelings about a new direction for Sirius XM marketing.
In the current economic climate, Darwin's rules apply. Only the strong will survive and only the companies that have developed the most of intimate of relationships with customers will stay in business. As much as the public thinks that they are immune to marketing messages, the fact is, a company's success often depends on how well/poorly they communicate with consumers. It is with that said, that I propose a new marketing plan for Sirius XM.
First and foremost (and believe me, I will harp on this all day and night until the cows come home), SIRIUS XM MUST BE A PRESENCE ON THE LIVE MUSIC SCENE. I don't know how I could possibly put it more bluntly. Sirius promotions people should be a force every Springsteen concert, every Metallica show, and EVERY SUMMER FESTIVAL, not to mention other live events. Ask anyone in the music business, and they will tell you that the money and the action is at live music venues all around this country, especially during the summer. If someone is willing to shell out 35 bucks or more to see a band live, wouldn't it seem as though they might be willing to put ten bucks a month towards hearing that band on the radio? This may seem like a stretch, but many of the acts that sell the most seats don't have commercial radio stations that play their music. For example, Phish rarely gets played on the radio, yet after not touring for five years, they have more than 20 dates in the next few months across the country that are sold out. Wouldn't it be a good idea to let all those Phishheads know that Sirius XM subscribers get at least an hour of live Phish every weeknight on Jam_On?
In my summer as an intern at the headquarters in New York City, I was able to snag two short sleeve Sirius shirts for myself. Almost every time I wear one, I get at least one comment. This proves that the best marketing tool of all is word of mouth; so, the number one goal should be to just get people talking about satellite radio. I don't know that people will go out and buy a lot of Sirius XM gear at retail prices, but I do know that people would wear a hooded sweatshirt given to them for upgrading their radio and committing to an additional year subscription. How many people have Sports Illustrated Pullovers? Getting something free makes a marginal deal seem like a great deal. The company could even give Sirius XM stickers with every new radio, and some might even put them on their laptops, windshields, and snowboards, among other places. There are countless ways to get exposure without having to spend on traditional advertising avenues.
Now that the company has partnered more heavily with Liberty Media (owners of Direct TV, among other entities), Sirius should take advantage of all the available synergies. And since Direct TV is exclusive with the NFL, Sirius XM should try to find a way to use the common relationship to it's benefit. Offer packages that give subscribers both products for a decent price. I can see the commercial now: a guy gets a call while watching an out of market football game, when his wife calls. She needs him to pick up the kids, but he doesn't want to miss the end of the game. What happens? He runs to his car and the game is right there on the radio with the hometown announcers. Other partnerships should be strengthened as well. Sirius carries CNN and Fox News; how about sponsoring segments of these channels? It would be nice to see Sean Hannity or Larry King mention that their channels are partnered with Sirius XM radio.
It's important for Sirius XM to realize that they are fighting an uphill battle. Why would CBS, NBC, or Clear Channel/Live Nation want to help out a rival? The mainstream media has a major interest in Sirius XM's failure, so it is critical for this company to get the message out by any and all means necessary. Once they get a taste of the product, new subscribers will be hooked. With growth, time will come for Sirius XM to be the dominant force in this new media culture. However, this cannot happen unless the more of the public sees the product for all it has to offer.
Scott Spiegel is an aspiring broadcast journalist. His online reel can be viewed at youtube.com/sspiegel024.