Marianne Milano Interview
Audience Engagement Director
Career Capsule: I grew up in the Boston area and began a career in TV broadcasting right out of college working in television news in Portland, ME. Then traveled to cities along the East Coast for roles as a TV News Producer, Anchor and Reporter. Eventually I landed a dream roll hosting a nightly entertainment program, PM Magazine, in Providence RI and was able to meet all kinds of interesting people and share their “slice of life” stories. All along the way I’ve advocated for those in need by volunteering as a Big Sister, a Lay Care Minister and working in youth ministry. I especially loved hosting telethons and LIVE events for various non-profit organizations
Fast forward to Minneapolis and landing a job as an executive producer/writer and host for digital and TV promotions at Internet Broadcasting executing strategies for 50 plus TV stations across the country. After some personal hardships and a stint serving the mental health industry (yes I have my MA in counseling), God brought me to 98.5 KTIS. That was 7 years ago, after being a long-time major donor.
Being able to use my multi- media experience, promotional prowess and creativity in a new way and for a new mission has been the most fun and rewarding experience I could have imagined. Directing the Audience Engagement team and serving alongside the 98.5 KTIS family has proven to be a perfect fit.
Marianne, tell us what’s new at KTIS, & new with you etc… ?
Currently, 98.5 KTIS is challenged with developing new engagement strategies as we bring hope and encouragement to the Twin Cities during the pandemic. A few approaches include our “High Five Your Coworker” initiative, where listeners nominate a coworker to be surprised with a KTIS office visit, gift package and treat, had to be tweaked to “surprise mailings “because of social distancing. We also tweaked it for a few weeks to honor health care heroes. Our Morning Show host, Keith Stevens, prays each weekday at 9am and we are honoring graduates across all platforms.
How has your job changed or shifted during the corona crisis?
My job is more proactive then ever during this time. Honestly, creativity is higher because I am out of the office and have more opportunities to work on my balcony! J I enjoy thinking “out-of-the-box” so this is another benefit of not doing business in the office as-usual!
What are the 3 main ingredients to make a promotion successful?
I have four: 1. Keep the end in mind and ask what is it you want to accomplish – stay missional. Stand in the listeners’ shoes and ask: is it convenient, is it inexpensive, is it impactful to me and is it easy. 3. Be REMARKABLE. Will your audience share with friends, especially with those who don’t know us? Word of mouth is EVERYTHING! 4. Be comprehensive in your promotional approach, reaching audiences on all platforms with compelling headlines, content and aesthetic imagery.
What is the best promotion advice you’ve been given? The worst?
I have 2 BEST: I have gleaned much from working with amazing leaders at 98.5 KTIS. My personal tendency is to take on many things and do them all well, which could lead to burn-out. So, from that perspective, it’s important to prioritize and DO ONE GREAT THING WELL. And EMAIL is the best social media platform. More about this later. No bad advice that I remember.
What is the one thing YOU must have to do your job every day?
A clear mind to create vision and remember details, coffee and my computer!
In your opinion what makes the ideal station promotion?
Connect with the hearts of your audience. Care about what they care about. Think about opportunities to serve others and provide encouragement and hope to one or to many. What may seem like a standard concert giveaway offering front row tickets, a merch pack and overnight hotel stay, may end up being the most uplifting experience for a listener. It happens at KTIS regularly! Be sure to align your messaging on all platforms for a win-win.
Regarding social networking and promotion, what have you had the most success with?
I love to watch God’s timing…A few years back when I attended a radio conference, I heard that email was the most popular form of social media. This revelation, along with learning that many listeners didn’t use Facebook, was the catalyst for the development of our email “Encouragement at a Glance”. These bits of encouragement over compelling visuals were originally created for Facebook. But many listeners didn’t see them, so it made sense to send as weekly emails. It’s also a great lead magnet for new name acquisition. Listeners sign up to receive it and we send it when they are most apt to open it during the week. About 63K listeners receive these each week. Several have replied letting us know that the message was exactly what they needed at that time. THAT’S God’s timing.
How do you measure the success of a great promotion?
It depends on your objective. If your objective is new name acquisition, then success would be a high number of new names and contact information gathered from one promotion. If you are looking to transform the life of one person and you receive one powerful story, that is success! If many people comment or share your social post, that could be success. At the end of the day, if God is in the details and vision, trust that His mission will be accomplished and that is SUCCESS!
4 thoughts on “Marianne Milano Interview”
Keep up the great work! Your city needs you more than ever!
Thank you Bill! We are trusting the One who knows. 😊
Great read Marianne! You are awesome at what you do! Glad to have worked with you for so many years! You’re tops!
Lisa!!! Back at- cha 😊. And thank you!