Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Marketing the Marketers: George Butler, Head of Commercial Marketing at Bauer Media UK

George is Head of Commercial Marketing at Bauer Media UK and a presenter on national radio station Fun Kids. Previously at UK radio’s industry body Radiocentre, George managed the award winning cross-industry initiative the Mental Health Minute, which united over 500 stations across the UK to simultaneously play the same minute of audio. George has also led marketing campaigns for Radioplayer in the UK.

What exactly does your job entail?

As a Commercial Marketing team within the UK business, our role is to amplify the incredible impact we make across Bauer Media by showcasing our iconic audio and publishing brands. From our award-winning content to effective brand campaigns and partnerships, as a team we are responsible for raising awareness and celebrating the best of what Bauer has to offer with our audiences and advertising partners.

This includes everything from managing our external channels to being brand guardians to creating interesting sessions for key industry events.

What campaign or piece of marketing/communications are you most proud of in your career and why?

For five years I was lucky enough to work on the Mental Health Minute, a project that hopefully made a difference to millions of people across the UK. In partnership with the Royal Foundation and the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Mental Health Minute strives to continue the national conversation about mental health by broadcasting the same minute of audio on over 500 radio stations simultaneously.

Beyond the live impact of reaching and uniting 20 million people in the UK, having the voices of superstars including Lady Gaga, David Beckham and Dame Judi Dench led to international press coverage from the world’s biggest publications and trending social media engagement.

The Mental Health Minute allowed radio to shine, doing what it does best – connecting with people in a uniquely intimate way, whilst being part of a shared experience. Through the power of radio, we could reach the nation with an incredibly significant message about the importance of mental health.

Who has been your biggest inspiration in your career to date and why?

I’ve been lucky during my career to have worked closely with some amazingly talented people. At Bauer, we have some of the industry’s most creative and strategic minds – from my boss Liz Martin to business leaders Simon Kilby and Simon Myciunka, the company is full of brilliant people.

Pre-Bauer I started my career at Radiocentre, the industry body for UK radio, where I had the chance to work closely with two exceptional CEOs in Siobahn Kenny and Matt Payton – allowing me to observe what makes a good leader, strategist and human being. There are so many other people I could mention in this answer, but if I had to pick one individual who has been a support and inspiration throughout my career it would be Radiocentre’s Client Director Lucy Barrett.

Lucy is a passionate media enthusiast who truly cares about her work, colleagues and industry – she taught me a lot and is someone I’ll always be thankful to have worked for.

What is the biggest challenge in your sector and how is your company helping to address it?

It’s hard to look past AI as the biggest disruptor in every industry right now. At Bauer we recognise AI as a huge opportunity, whilst also acknowledging the seismic transformation it’s having on many industries. We’re embracing the possibilities it presents, which include new production techniques, breaking down creative boundaries for advertisers and creating better experiences for both audiences and our commercial partners.

However, some may see automated voices and generative journalism as a threat to radio and publishing. Whilst AI does pose a challenge, I think it will only deepen the connection we have with our audiences. In a media landscape which will become increasingly artificial, we can offer consumers and advertisers real, human connection. Human voices, that truly speak to the individual is something that as a species we will always want and need, and it’s something that we will always be here to offer.

What is the biggest opportunity in your sector and how is your company helping to make the most of it?

Over recent years the media industry has obviously seen transformational change – so much so, that at Bauer we see no longer see ourselves as operating in radio, but rather the ‘audioverse’. Digital audio has and will continue to shake up what we do, from the way in which audiences listen, to the technologies available to enhance campaign effectiveness.

The digital audio space is incredibly exciting and a huge opportunity for us to deepen the connection we have with both our audiences and commercial partners. You can listen, watch and read our products on more platforms than ever, whilst brands can reach more customers, in a more personalised nature. For example, 20% of all our listening is now done via smart speakers, which on top of the live radio experience provides new ways to layer on deeper connection with the audience – from voice activated listener experiences to interactive ads. Through continued innovation, digital audio will enable the audio industry to push the boundaries of what we can offer to both listeners and advertisers.  

How important, and why, are the following in helping your promote your ow company:

The press: Trade press plays an important role in communicating our news and thought leadership. Media professionals are a hard bunch to target, but key trade titles are a really helpful way of getting across our key company talking points.

Events: Events are vital for us. I see them a bit like radio – we get to speak to a relevant audience about a key message that can’t be skipped, blocked or avoided. But like a great radio ad, it’s all about the content. We’re an entertainment business, so whenever we put on a session or event, we want to make sure we follow our key attributes of joy, humour and trusted information. Speaking at the right events, with the right content is a hugely valuable part of our marketing plan.

Your company’s owned media: At Bauer we’re home to a hugely diverse range of brands, across audio, print and digital. This creates a great opportunity for our commercial partners to reach the audience they desire, but it also means we have a great platform to cross promote our products. With a reach of over 27 million people in the UK, it provides our stations, publications and podcasts with a great opportunity to access new audiences.