When asking small business owners in the Portland, Maine area what they hope to achieve from their radio campaign, more often than not the reply is "exposure." In life, as in radio advertising, exposure in not necessarily a good thing. Just ask the Donner Party or Pew Wee Herman or George Michael. When exposure, awareness, or foot-traffic is the goal of a radio campaign for a Maine small business, then they should save their money. Exposure, awareness, and foot-traffic can be a by-product of a radio campaign, but the objective should always answer the questions: Who does my business need to reach and what specifically do I want them to do when they hear my radio commercial?
According to the Small Business Guide To Effective Radio Advertising (and my mentor Gerry Tabio of Creative Resources), before you even choose the radio stations you will use or create a commercial, you must choose a marketing objective for your campaign. To be effective, every campaign should have just one objective and relate to one of your business’s major priorities. The objective you choose will determine your radio station selection, the length of your campaign, and the length and content of your commercial. There are only 2 types of marketing objectives:
BRANDING OBJECTIVES are used when you want your target consumer to believe something about your product or service. An example of a branding objective could be: Get working mothers to believe that my daycare service is the safest place in town to entrust their children.
PROMOTIONAL OBJECTIVES are used when you want your target consumer to take specific action. An example of a promotion objective could be: Get people who maintain their own cars to buy 3 quarts of motor oil at my store this weekend.
The first step of a marketing objective should be to identify a singular, well-articulated target consumer. Using gender and age alone are too broad to be effective descriptors. Instead you should target your consumer by lifestyle. Some examples could be:
- Working Moms
- Shoppers With Lowe's Credit Cards
- People Who Will Retire In 5 Years
- College Graduates Who Are Under Employed
If you are unsure how to determine your targets, an account executive from a local radio station should be able to provide you with in-depth qualitative information about your category of business. The most reliable research comes from Media Audit or Mediamark Research.
The next step in creating the marketing objective of an effective radio should be to state the exact outcome you expect from your target consumer. This is where you decided if you want the consumer to believe something (branding) or to take a specific action (promotion). For instance you might ask, in what ways might I...
- Compel working moms to believe that my daycare is the safest in town
- Encourage shoppers with Lowes Credit Cards to visit my website to check prices before going to Lowe's
- Make people who will retire in 5 years believe that they need long-term-care insurance
Once the marketing objective is decided, then all other elements of the campaign will logically follow including: station selection, commercial length, and finally the script. The result will be more than simple exposure, awareness, or foot traffic. The result will be an engaging and compelling campaign that, when successful, will serve to fulfill the company's business priorities.
Meet 10 Maine Small Business Owners Who Use Radio
- Douglas Martin, W.H. Demmons, Inc.
- Michael Major, Cunningham Security Systems
- Michael Storey, M.J. Storey Landscape
- Cathy Manchester, Keller-Williams Real Estate
- Greg Sundik, Victoria Mansion
- Leigh Kellis, The Holy Donut
- Ed Lechner, Selby Shoes Etc
- Kevin Kaserman, Mr. H20/Dunbar Water Pumps & Filters
- David Rosen, Full Belly Deli
- Blueberry Beeton, Shelter
Small Business Guide To Effective Radio Advertising