By Sara Klein, written from interviews with Bob Quier, iHeartMedia, Tom Netting, CSPEN and Theresa Moriarty and Joel English, Centura College, Tidewater Tech and Aviation Institute of Maintenance
Technology has propelled us into the future, with each day bringing a new gadget, a faster connection, a different must-have app. Along with these amazing breakthroughs, some difficulties, specifically with marketing to these distracted audiences, have come to the forefront. Career colleges have had to deal with this new challenge in creative ways, to find ways to break through the noise of all the apps vying for potential students’ attention. The new digital age has added costs and complexity, and data isn’t going to solve these problems. Reach is more important than ever. That’s where iHeartMedia comes in. It’s one of the largest mass media companies in America, and it could be exactly what career colleges need to spark innovative and successful marketing campaigns. Additionally, schools would be contributing to the promotion of the career education community through iHeartMedia’s partnership with the Central States Private Education Network (CSPEN).
iHeartMedia has the largest reach of any radio and television outlet in the United States, with more than 850 radio stations in 250 markets around the country, according to Bob Quier, an Account Executive for iHeartMedia in their Washington, D.C. office.
As stated on the iHeartMedia website, they deliver music, sports, news, and talk radio across a number of platforms, some of which include broadcast stations, online, digital radio channels, satellite, and individual devices. To give some perspective on how far-reaching and effective they are, iHeartMedia reaches 271 million people each month in the U.S. “iHeart reaches not quite 50 million more people each month than Google, and just over 70 million more people than Facebook,” Quier said. “Against our largest television network competitor-CBS-we reach just over 115 million more users each month.” It is also the “leading global media and entertainment company working in many mediums, including radio, digital, outdoor, mobile, social, live events and on-demand entertainment,” as described on its website.
In terms of reach within specific demographics, it out-reaches the top apps in each specific audience category. Specifically, it outreaches Twitter by over 40 percent in millennials, Facebook by around 60 percent in Generation Z, Univision by around 40 percent in Hispanics, and Black Entertainment Television by over 50 percent in African-American. If colleges are looking for a platform that reaches its audience, iHeartMedia fits the bill because not only does it outreach its competitors, but it can target specific demographics through its many platforms.
“We’ve got digital appliances where we can target individuals, demographically, behaviorally, and geographically,” Quier said. “People that listen to classic rock aren’t necessarily the folks that listen to alternative rock, which aren’t necessarily the folks that listen to country. Depending upon a school’s individual needs, we have a platform, a station, somewhere in that area that can connect students to a specific school.”
Career colleges looking for ways to market their programs want a campaign that is more than just far-reaching, but engaging as well. iHeartMedia also leads in engagement. “Literally our users spend just over 31 minutes a day with our radio platforms. I think we squeak a minute over Facebook. It’s almost 10 ½ minutes more than Google” Quier said. “I truly think that the reason why people engage with us is because if you think about it audio sound is the only media platform that allows people to be fully engaged in other tasks. We’re a nation of multitaskers. In the grand scheme of things, sound is the only medium that allows the individual to do something else at the same time.”
“Sound enables each individual to have their own soundtrack to their lives,” Quier continued. “People think of a song that was playing when they had their first dance or their first date with an individual, or just different moments in their lives that meant something to them.”
In addition to being far-reaching and engaging, it also helps educate listeners by leading them to the internet to learn more about the school.
With the changes in technology, it would be foolish to ignore the digital tool for building a brand and marketing a brand to a large audience.
“One thing that [iHeartMedia] offers is the streaming, so we can place digital ads along with our radio spots…to drive people to the internet to learn more about us,” said Theresa Moriarty, the Corporate Advertising Director for Centura College, Tidewater Tech and Aviation Institute of Maintenance, who has used iHeartMedia for quite a few years but more heavily in the past three years. “We started working with them really just based on radio and running radio spots on the different stations through all of the different markets, but then bringing on kind of the digital aspect with it.”
Moriarty also believes there are some key benefits to using iHeartMedia for marketing.
“I think the main benefit is being able to do the ads with the streaming, along with radio spots, and being able to access people who are listening to radio online and through the internet, whether it’s on their mobile device or desktop or whatever,” Moriarty explained. “It’s just another way to reach our target audience through the sources and the devices that they’re using. We’re able to hit people who are using the traditional radio stations as well as the online portion.”
iHeartMedia can reach potential students in basically any demographic in any market nationwide. If they can’t reach a market in broadcast, they can most likely reach that market with a digital platform. They accomplish this by having an account executive work with the school and subsequently create an individualized plan that determines what platform would match up best and what demographics need to be reached, helping the school build its brand through the medium of radio. Because it is so personalized, schools with smaller budgets can utilize iHeartMedia as well.
“It’s not just one size fits all that we’re trying to make work for individuals… Everything is customized. We would literally work with each individual entity to make sure that we gave them the best solution possible,” Quier explained.
iHeartMedia has many benefits for career schools. Quier believes it has the ability to utilize everything that makes radio effective.
“We are live, we’re local, we’re human, and we’re incredibly social,” Quier states. “People that choose to listen to radio are actively engaged with the platform. Literally we’re in 250 markets across the United States. We have personalities that actively engage the listener and the brand itself. People are social animals and music is one of those things that bring people together.”
Besides being one of the largest media companies reaching a large audience, iHeartMedia brings a charitable option to the table with their partnership with the Central States Private Education Network (CSPEN). “The partnership actually came as a result of, candidly, a longstanding friendship that I had with individuals over at iHeartMedia,” said Tom Netting, the Co-Executive Director of CSPEN. This partnership takes a portion of the funds from the contract with iHeartMedia and gives it to CSPEN. Those monies CSPEN collects from the partnership will be used to “promote the career education community, to promote the positive effects of the education provided by the schools in our community, and as importantly, if not more so, the success of our graduates,” said Netting.
“Again, no new money, no additional money, no plus up, for the institutions but if they sign contracts with iHeartMedia, a portion of the proceeds of what iHeartMedia receives comes over to CSPEN in order to fund promotion within the community,” said Netting.
Schools should contact Bob and mention CSPEN when contracting with iHeartMedia to make sure the connection is made.
“We really think this could be a very good way for a 501(c)(3) charitable educational organization to do one of the things that is a primary portion of our mission, which is not only to share information with the community, but also do things that we can to help support and promote it,” Netting added.
iHeartMedia is a logical choice for career schools that have campuses in several different locations.
“We as a company have specifically set ourselves up to allow ourselves to let an individual school or group of schools work as a unit, as opposed to each individual venture being its own independent silo,” Quier explained. If there are campuses in several states, schools can work with only one account executive. “[For instance], you would work directly with me, and I would do all the heavy lifting for you across the different geographical locations.”
However, if you would like to work with several account executives for each region that is possible too.
“In each market we have a representative, which is terrific because they understand our campuses in that market, as well as helping coordinate through the national office at iHeartMedia,” Moriarty said. “The thing about iHeartMedia is they have made great efforts to understand our business and understand about higher education and what we do.”
If a school needs help with the creative aspects of their advertising campaigns, iHeartMedia can help with that, too. They can help with scripts, production, and producing material either on the air or with the digital assets.
“As a company, we have invested in an award-winning creative team that can help individual schools or groups to come up with a creative message. We’d work with the individual to determine the difference between an event and the process to get people involved,” Quier said.
Some schools produce their own creatives, but still utilize iHeartMedia when they’re in a time-crunch.
“For things that are kind of time sensitive we sometimes use iHeartMedia for the creative. They’re very responsive to that,” Moriarty explained. “They can pretty much turn things around very quickly for us and help us make sure that anything that’s time sensitive that we’re really being able to put that fresh message out there.”
For some schools, it’s important to know that their campaigns are working, and there are many ways to track Return on Investment (ROI) through iHeartMedia.
“One reason why we drive people to specific URLs [is to determine our ROI on our campaigns]. That way we can track people that are going to that particular URL that was advertised on a particular station or through a particular source,” Moriarty said. “So we can actually measure what we’re getting through iHeartMedia from a cost per inquiry as well as a cost per enrollment.”
Schools also utilize iHeartMedia to help advertise different campus events, finding that the far reach of radio helps get the word out quickly.
“I think running messages about the different events that you have on campus…, it’s great to get the word out very quickly and have that detailed message about the event,” Moriarty said. “We’re able to create specific URLs or places on the website for them to drive people to where they can learn directly about specific things that are in the radio spot or the banner ads that might be on their digital display.”
Overall, it seems the main benefits to schools includes the large audience reach with the personalized service.
“iHeart is promoting their streaming and their live stations all the time in almost all of their markets. You just have a larger audience that you can target there. With a station that isn’t a national brand, there isn’t as much of an audience to target,” Moriarty said.
Joel English, the Vice President of Operations, working with Moriarty with three school brands: Tidewater Tech in Norfolk, Virginia; Centura College with five campuses around the Southeastern United States; and Aviation Institute of Maintenance, with 11 campuses around the country, added what he considers a benefit of iHeartMedia.
“iHeart and our organization have something in common and that is that we’re one organization, but all of our business is really in localized markets,” English explained. Instead of being a big streaming service broadcasting from a home base out to the rest of the country, iHeartMedia still works in local markets in individualized ways. “We’ve got customization at the local level, but business relationships at a more national level.”
Career colleges are searching for new and inventive ways to market their schools to their particular demographics, be it a cosmetology school targeting 18-25 year old women or an aviation maintenance program targeting 18-34 year old men. iHeartMedia seems to have the reach and the diverse markets to engage these audiences through music, through banner ads, and through a multitude of mediums across the United States and even globally.
BOB QUIER is a Senior Marketing Executive with iHeartMedia in Washington, D.C. Bob is a veteran marketing executive, highly experienced in working with various traditional and digital platforms. He has an established track record of working with local, regional, and national clients to design and execute marketing campaigns to build brands and drive revenue. Additionally, Bob has successfully launched and managed beverage brands and distributors.
Contact Information: Bob Quier // iHeartMedia // 240-747-2944 // BobQuier@iHeartMedia.com // iHeartMedia.com | iHeartRadio.com