Thursday, May 14, 2015
Media Spike # 53 - Make Waves With Airwaves
Welcome. Does this sound familiar?

Late night radio/Take It everywhere I go/ My best friend when I’m lonely/ Is my late night radio!

This stanza, from the late musician, John Denver, speaks volumes about the power, the portability, the intimacy and the friendship that radio delivers. One reader expressed to me that not only is it my commuter companion, it delivers the songs that connect me to the past and present. So let’s take today to talk about radio.

Not tactile like the magazine readership experience, but no less intrusive as an audio experience.

Among the best sales pitches to me, (as a buyer I get a lot of them) came several years ago when the seller said please remember, on the radio, I don’t have to see your product to sell it.

The power of imagination by your listeners will paint the necessary backdrop. You may remember, that a little more than eight weeks ago, at the end of Media Spike #9, we spoke of Theatre of the Mind. That is the sticking point for all audio messages. The skill of the writer, without benefit of visual or written assistance, must establish the setting quickly, engage your attention, and deliver the message such that you remember it and act on it, long after the spot is done.

One writer (Paul Suggett) likened it to an Unlimited Special-Effects Budget. You can create any setting you want. The listener does all the work creating the scene in their own mind. You don’t need a host of visual clues and sets and action- the listener is doing all that from the words of your commercial.

And if you can make it humourous, that will be even better.

Thousand of comedians made their mark on radio through the years, long before TV, and the Internet. That capacity to entertain and create scenarios was not lost on smart advertisers who used this power of imagination to educate, inform and entertain audiences. These audiences were much more inclined to purchase from the advertisers who delivered this kind of experience.

I will ask you to please be careful of the potential distraction of sound effects in your ad. More than once I’ve pulled to the right hand side of the road to let an emergency vehicle pass, only to be angered it was siren used as a sound effect in a radio ad. Engage your listeners- do not enrage them.

If you’ve ever wrestled with using radio as a component to your media mix, we offer these guideposts:

  • Radio Builds Top of Mind Awareness – Delivering high, affordable frequency to your audience.
  • Radio is extremely portable-Considered the anytime anywhere media, radio is with them while they are doing something else.
  • Radio targets: By Station format
                          By Lifestyle
                          By Time of Day
                          By Environment
                          By Market or geography
  • Radio is a powerful stand alone media and a perfect team player with other media in your mix.
  • Radio is consistent all year round.
  • Radio is often the lifeline of your community, and THE source of local news, weather, traffic, school closings, special events.
  • Radio is My Audio Newspaper (thank you Pat G. for that excellent description)
  • For those of you wondering- yes radio and the Internet can co-exist. Indeed nearly one third of Canadian adults report they have the radio on while they are on-line. And, that Radio ads have often driven them to the advertisers website.
  • For those who are dollar conscious: Radio delivers more audience for the same budget than most, if not all other media.
  • Lastly, for now, the radio is often the last messaging opportunity before listeners leave the car for a shopping experience. The closer you can have the message to the cash register, the greater the chance of influencing the purchase.

So What Can You Do To Improve Radio In Your Campaign?
  • Take the time to get as clear as possible on your target group. (and NO- not everybody with a Credit Card)
  • Their geography, age, gender, income, education, hobbies, marital status, children in household etc.
  • As well as you’re able—and this should be easy in your local city—LISTEN to all of the radio stations. Not just YOUR favourite, but all the stations to gain a feel for their flavour, style, format, personalities.This will help you from a comfort level where your message should be delivered and how it should be constructed to reflect the profile of the listeners of that station. Your tonality should be adjusted to fit the station to gain greater acceptance by the listener, and not be a jarring tune out.
  • Contact several radio stations, and tell them your objectives. Who are you trying to reach?
  • What you want to happen as a result of airing the ads?
    Do you want them to:
                Visit your store or website to make a purchase?
                Raise awareness of your service?
                Drive them to an upcoming event?
                Rally behind a candidate?
  • Have them present a proposal to you, which gives you a reach plan presence across the station. When you’re ready, look to see if there is a sponsorship opportunity. Above all, do not commit to a long-term schedule until you’ve seen how your campaign is performing.
  • Please compose your ad so that you can track it’s performance. Some identifier that tells you any response could only be attributable to that ad. This will pay off in spades later in this campaign and others in the future.
  • When radio is utilized properly, it can provide an impressive Return on Investment for the advertiser.
  • Money: How much are you prepared to spend to win a new customer? Not just how much are you prepared to lose if this campaign doesn’t work. But how much are you ready to invest in your marketing to get a lifetime customer. (That’s a grander question for all marketing.) So- genuinely- how much are you prepared to invest in the next radio campaign?  Don’t spread yourself too thin starting out.  Pick one station- maybe two, and test your ads with a call to action and see where you best responses come from. And keep testing with other stations until you get the one(s) that provide the best results for you.  It’s time and money well spent.
  • Radio allows you to stay Top Of Mind by going in through the ears.

Stay tuned,

Dennis Kelly

P.S. Radio has been with the globe for over a century. Broadcasting triumph and tragedy, from the Beatles to Beyonce, from the car to the garden, it is ubiquitous.

While there is no end to the possibilities and the styling of how to use radio, we thought you might like access to the former Radio Marketing Bureau’s contributions. The bureau is no longer active, but the site remains as a wonderful reference tool:

In addition, you will find our Ten Part Series on Radio with a click here.

"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition  is not for everyone.  It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

Is that YOU?
If it is, click here for your copy of, "9 Secrets To Improve Your Advertising"

Do It Now. As a Masthead Online Reader, you can order your own copy for just $30, but only until you reach Media Spike #57.  After that, the price returns to $197.

- Dennis Kelly
About Me
Dennis Kelly
A professional to his fingertips, Dennis Kelly of First Impressions Media brings a deft touch as your media magician. Extracting incremental media value for you from suppliers is second nature for Dennis. His versatility in all media is bred of 3 decades of hands-on media planning & buying experience in the media trenches. As a steward of your media budget, Dennis excels in delivering smart, efficient, creative and targeted campaigns to showcase your creative to the right audience.

Dennis is the author of “ 9 Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising” and is available to Masthead Reader for $197 through a special offer at this link
Most Recent Blog Comment
Dennis Kelly says:
Thank you Gloria. What a perfectly apropos link. Thank you for sharing that. You are quite correct. ...
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