Clear Channel Knows How To Do Smart Integrated Marketing

logo_ihrmfOn Monday (7/9) Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announced the lineup and ticket details for their second annual iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. Last year, they billed the concert as the coming out party for their iHeartRadio platform and app. This year, they’re building on the anticipation that saw the two-day show sell out in 10 minutes in 2011, and banking on continued success of the event as both an advertising platform for their radio group and as a promotion vehicle for iHeartRadio. And they’re doing it right.
It goes without saying that Clear Channel has smart people at the top (Bob Pittman especially, among others) but their ability to execute across multiple channels and maintain brand consistency and messaging should be impressive to even a hardened industry guy (or girl). They coordinated the simultaneous release of the lineup — announced by Ryan Seacreast on all of his affiliates — with the transformation of every single radio station website they operate and through massive and broad social media chatter. They organized their partners and even rolled in some contesting and email database marketing for good measure.
Let’s look at some of the channels they used:

  • National Partners: Well before the lineup was announced, Clear Channel released the dates and location of the show (9/21 and 9/22 in Las Vegas), as well as the venue where the event will actually happen (the MGM Grand). The advertisers that signed in advance were clearly working behind the scenes to create their own integrations and were already showcased when the festival site was switched on. They include Dish Network’s Hopper, Macy’s, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, and State Farm, among others.
  • Radio (On-Air): From teasing the announcement, to running promos, to making sure everyone got the work done after a holiday week, the marketing team went big. Obviously, this is their bread and butter, but while some radio groups get lost in the details, Clear Channel used these assets to their fullest and did so seamlessly.
  • Radio (Websites): At precisely 9:00am ET / 6:00am PT, the festival site — which had been only a large countdown clock — switched to a fully-deployed information center that included both the lineup and links to ticketing information. And a minute or two later, the websites of each Clear Channel station were taken over and an expanding video with details of the lineup were embedded. For anyone that’s done web design or programming, you know this is not an easy task for one site and could have been extremely challenging for 500+.
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  • Facebook and Twitter: In the weekend before the announcement, the social media team teased, talked, asked, and answered, all to build excitement and make sure the most engaged fans knew exactly what was happening. They continued to release details and clarify bits of information as the morning progressed and as those fans and followers needed more.
  • Email Marketing: A little before 12:00noon ET / 9:00am PT (once the West Coast was awake and at work), a simple email arrived with the complete lineup and a link to the festival’s website. It also included a link to get a $2 Amazon MP3 credit, offered from and branded with the Kindle Fire, which as I mentioned is a featured National Partner.
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  • Contesting: In addition to the free MP3 credit, two sponsors were also running promotions to win VIP tickets to the show (Macy’s and Matador Beef Jerky). Both contests were highlighted on the festival’s site and Macy’s had a well-integrated Facebook app to collect entries.

In fairness, this is a huge music event being produced by a multi-billion dollar media company that happens to be one of the largest radio groups in the world. The scale of everything they do is big. Even so, that doesn’t mean the lessons of precise execution should be lost or discarded by smaller companies. It’s vitally important to integrate everything you do, to get your messaging right across all of your channels, and to make sure that everyone on the front line is ready to respond in the same way. If you’re running something smaller than Clear Channel (and you probably are), don’t forget the details.
Or, in the words of a good friend: “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.”