Do you want CUSTOMERS or CLIENTS? – by Ryan Ghidoni




Ryan Ghidoni

By Ryan Ghidoni

PSR Contributor


Thursday July 21st, 2016


Audio Active Advertising – Episode 26: Do you want CUSTOMERS or CLIENTS?


Image from


Whether you’re in sales or creative, this one question will determine what kind of career you have:


Do you want customers or clients?


What does this choice really mean to Sales?

Do you want to simply sell airtime or do you want to offer your radio expertise and help businesses achieve their advertising goals?

Are you pushing air or providing solutions?


If you choose to have customers…

You are an order taker.

Frank Bonner as Herb Tarlek of WKRP from



You will end up with a long list of small transient advertisers. A small portion will consistently deal with you because they don’t have time to shop around. The rest will come and go as ratings fluctuate or the reps from the other stations are able to form stronger relationships with them.

Expect to invest your time in constantly prospecting for new business. You will need to bring in new customers to replace the ones that leave because their radio didn’t work, there was a great deal on ads somewhere else, or they’ve decided to invest in social media.

Expect to have a “dump and run” relationship with the creative and promotions departments where client info is mishandled and mistakes are made. You will have no time to form a partnership with the content creators because your time will be taken up by scrambling to meet your customers’ whims for concert tickets. When there is no relationship between you and the content creators…you’ll never get their best work.


If you choose to have clients…

You are a trusted advisor.


Successful group of business people, headed by a business woman
Successful group of business people, headed by a business woman Image from


You will eventually make your budget with a list of 30 large advertisers. Some will be large to begin with. They will choose you because you offer something more valuable than the reps from the other stations. The rest will be large because you helped them grow and succeed.

Expect to invest your time in learning everything about your craft. Learn how to determine a client’s needs and match them with the most suitable radio product. Sell them ads when they have a story to tell. Sell them tags for top of mind awareness. Sell them promos when their brand and your brand are a mutually beneficial fit.

Expect to create a partnership with the creative and promotions departments and work together to create the best messages possible.  


What does this choice really mean to Creatives?

Do you simply copy, paste, and edit info into 30 second scripts OR do you transform information into meaningful and memorable messages?

Are you a copywriter or a creative writer?


If you choose to have customers…

You are a copywriter.


Stephen Root as Milton Waddams in “Office Space”


You are a stop on the assembly line. To the client, you are an assistant who transcribes their ideas. They will chastise you like a drive-thru worker when you make a mistake and every once in a blue moon you’ll receive an appreciative comment at the end of an approval email.

Expect to spend your time writing a new “flyer” style ad each week for your clients and constantly revising ads because their brother, wife, or mechanic came up with a better idea than you.

Expect a predictable job. If you are looking for a creative outlet, expect to register for some cooking and photography courses after hours to find one.


If you choose to have clients…

You are a creative writer.

Image from



You are a story teller…a message maker. You are there to analyze what the client wants to communicate and transform it into 30 seconds that will entertain, inform, and excite the listener. You will become the writer that sales and advertisers view as a valuable resource.

Expect to spend your time learning new creative writing styles, new techniques, and learning how to match the most appropriate ones to the client’s goals. You will spend more time designing the right idea for your clients but there will be less maintenance work. Your more effective ads will have longer flights than weekly sale announcements.

Expect to gain a reputation as a professional and build relationships with sales where you can confidently communicate your needs to create the best product possible.

Expect a job that constantly challenges you. Every day will provide new puzzles to solve and the best ones, the greatest challenges, will be the ones with less than ideal circumstances.


Hey…I realize that my bias is showing.


In reality…you can’t always control what you end up with on your list. You will always have a mix of both customers and clients. The real decision is choosing what to focus on and where to put your energy. Choose to focus on customers and you’ll end up with a list that is primarily customers. Choose to focus on clients and you will end up with a list that is primarily clients because you will learn how to turn a customer into a client.


The real question, the one you need to ask yourself everyday, is…


Which one is going to be your priority?


The real magic happens when both sales and creative get together and map out how to fast track the customer’s needs and buy time to nurture the clients.


Ryan Ghidoni is an 18-year veteran of radio advertising and has worked with some of the most creative sales reps, writers, producers and voice talent in the business.

CHECK OUT “Audio Active Advertising” every week on Puget Sound Radio.


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Email Ryan: Ry**@Au********************.com 






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