Cumulus Media is a leading audio-first media and entertainment company and one of America’s largest radio station groups — with 424 owned-and-operated stations serving 87 media markets and reaching more than a quarter of a billion listeners every month.
Make Helping Effortless
The coronavirus pandemic has created tremendous hardships for many hard-working Americans, and families across the U.S. have found themselves in need of food assistance. Feeding America, a nationwide network of food banks, has established the COVID-19 Response Fund to address this acute and critical hunger crisis.
Reflecting its ongoing commitment to the communities it serves, Cumulus Media spied a chance to help. Cumulus signed on as a major sponsor of the Radio Cares: Feeding America Emergency Radiothon, a nationwide, one-day fundraiser held April 30, 2020, to benefit the COVID-19 Response Fund.
“We saw the radiothon as a fantastic opportunity for our listeners to donate and make a difference, but we needed to make participation as easy as possible for them,” said Jenn Fallin Johnson, manager of promotions and events at Cumulus Media. “Just about everyone carries a mobile phone these days, and text messaging is a powerful means of engaging listeners wherever they happen to be.”
Marketron Mobile Messaging Service
Just as it has for numerous other campaigns, Cumulus turned to Marketron. The solution, based on the Marketron Mobile Messaging Service, created an easy keyword — “feed” — that listeners could text to a dedicated five-digit number. Instantly, they received a bounce-back text thanking them and providing the link to the Radio Cares website where they could complete their donation.
“I’ve worked with the Marketron platform many times, so I knew setting up and activating this campaign would be really easy; in fact, it took me about two minutes. And the Marketron system handled smooth integration with all of our on-air, digital and social media messaging,” Johnson said. The bonus: Marketron covered the first $15,000 in text messaging carrier fees.
Johnson added, “This fundraising campaign was running on thousands of stations. We really didn’t know what kind of response we’d get, especially with so many more people at home and not working. Thanks to Marketron, carrier costs weren’t a limiting factor — and that was a tremendous relief.”
The Radio Cares: Feeding America Emergency Radiothon was a tremendous success, raising more than $500,000 for the Feeding America COVID-19 Response Fund. Cumulus Media radio stations received approximately 10,000 “feed” text messages from listeners. “That’s 10,000 people who might not have responded without the ability to engage with the campaign the minute they heard the radio spot,” Johnson said. “Getting a link bounce-back on their phones made it a lot easier to go to the website and complete the donation at their convenience.”
Brian Philips, Cumulus Media’s executive vice president of content and audience, commented, “Our listeners represent the most generous cross-section of America — and they answered the call from their favorite stations, large and small, unified by the cause of American hunger. Cumulus is always proud when what we do moves people.”
What’s Next for Cumulus Media and Marketron?
Cumulus Media has integrated text messaging into previous campaigns, but never before on the scale of the Radio Cares: Feeding American Emergency Radiothon. “The event was really unprecedented; it’s the first time small, medium and large radio stations and station groups came together in this way at the national level to benefit their local communities,” Johnson said. “It opens the door for us to help other nationwide causes down the road, and Marketron is the ideal partner.”
She added, “With Marketron as the back-end platform, we can set up, run and manage a text campaign from any location. We run the majority of our contests now using text messaging because we know our listeners will respond and react to texts. For every 10,000 entries we might have gotten with traditional methods, we might get a quarter million using texting.”
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3 Key Takeaways from Cumulus Media
- Integrating text messaging into campaigns makes it easier for listeners to respond and drives greater participation.
- The right digital platform makes setting up, managing and tracking a campaign fast and easy from any location.
- Text messaging is the wave of the future for radio promotions, especially those on a national scale with thousands of stations.