Why would a company who specializes in radio advertising and radio marketing say something like that? Because…it’s what we hear a lot.
“I tried radio advertising and it doesn’t work”.
Are you using radio the right way? Are your expectations in line with what radio can deliver? Here is where advertisers get discouraged with radio advertising…and for good reason. If not used the right way…and with realistic expectations…radio advertising – for the most part* – will not work.
If you buy a sub-par cut of meat from the grocery store, no matter how you prepare it or cook it, it will not be filet mignon. I’m not saying radio advertising, or radio production is sub-par. I’m saying that the expectations are not in line with reality. When you buy a lottery ticket, you hope to win. You would love to win. It would be very cool to win. IF someone asked how sure you were to win…so sure you went and started shopping for that million dollar mansion today… you would recall the 1: one gazillion odds… and probably not put earnest money down on that palatial estate just yet. Why not? Realistic expectations.
Radio advertising works the same way. Advertisers either misunderstand… or worse, are misled by radio account executives…as to how radio works.
* Now for my disclaimer. I say “for the most part” above, because there are exceptions for every rule, and in this case more power to those who had success. Those who “do it right” will have success. If the message is good, or if the event/sale/product has something of real value or buzz, then radio advertising can have a big benefit. Here, I am addressing the most common radio advertising situation – the business that has done very little to no advertising, with moderate to little brand awareness in a market, has a small limited budget which is used up rather quickly, and who believes nothing more than their name, their services provides, and the usual fare of “great customer service”, blahh blahh is enough to bring customers in the door.
So, how CAN radio work? If you’re a potential advertiser with a similar situation as above, listen carefully. For you, radio advertising will be a strong BRANDING vehicle. It will not drive customers to your location in droves after its first week or month on the air. It will be an effective supporting medium to your other marketing efforts. And it will be there consistently reminding people of you and your message. Week in…week out…at a steady pace like a marathon runner. Bust out in a sprint and you’ll poop out on mile five…blow your entire radio budget in one month and you’ll see no benefit…steady finishes the marathon. When many radio advertisers are presented with an annual schedule by radio companies, they immediately dismiss it – seeing the large number and figuring the rep is out for a huge sale. If you are uncomfortable with the amount, discuss that with your account rep, and work out a number that’s better for both of you…but do think in annual terms. Remember, a smaller annual buy will be better than a shorter more expensive spurt. This is because radio takes time. Branding takes time. It just does and there’s no way around it. Stay patient and you will see long term benefits.
So, it will have to be long term, and it will have to be consistent in its message and its delivery. The radio production will have to be focused (check out the singular focus article for more details) on the ONE…UNO…thing you want to be remembered for.
You want to own the market mindset for (industry) businesses that __________.
Example: Are you a serviced based company? We did spots for an electrical company that brands itself as the “On time crew”. No mention of fixing it right the first time…no mention of superior customer service. Why not? Because everyone else spreads themselves thin branding multiple benefits. The result is a company who is known for “getting there on time”. Great branding. Now, listeners have the company burned into their mental real estate when it comes to electrical repair services that show up when they say they will show up. Make sure you DO deliver superior customer service and DO fix it right the first time…and above all DO SHOW UP ON TIME…all of those things together build referrals and word of mouth…but you need a brand to stand out…the ‘on time crew” is a great brand people remember…or you can choose something else…maybe if you want to be known as the company that fixes it right the first time, a concept like “We want to see you more…but we do it right the first time…so invite us to dinner afterward next week so we can see each other more”. That’s a silly example but hopefully gets the idea across. Reinforce a brand.
If you want radio advertising to work, remember these tips:
1) It’s a long race…steady branding is the key.
2) Get specific on the ONE thing you want to position yourself as.
3) Be consistent with the message and the media schedule.