If you've been listening to Portland radio lately, then you've probably heard a lot of commercials for Procter and Gamble products. It's been many years since P&G has been on radio this much and there is a marketing lesson in this for Maine small business owners.
P&G is the largest advertiser in America. The company spends more than $7-billion annually to market its trove of iconic brands. This includes Pampers, Tide, Mr. Clean, Old Spice, Gillette, Crest, and Metamucil.
In April, P&G's Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, told the Cincinnati Business Courier it was time for his company to re-invent its advertising. The goal is to reach more of the people most likely to buy P&G products – and to reduce wasteful spending.
Mr. Pritchard's reinvention of advertising is why so many commercials for P&G products found their way on to Portland radio stations.
Fueling P&G's investment in radio is the growing disenchantment with both TV and digital advertising. "Ninety three percent of households are listening to radio, said John Fix, analyst/manager—North America Media & Marketing at P&G. "That’s the scale I need for my brands to reach the people that buy them."
When it comes to scale, Portland radio reaches 700,000 adults living in Southern Maine. More than local TV. Substantially more than local newspapers. More than local magazines. More than streaming media services like Pandora or Spotify.
P&G's investment in radio's mammoth reach seems to be contributing to the company's recent increases in sales. According to the Wall St. Journal, "Procter & Gamble Co. snapped out of a long funk, booking its strongest quarterly sales gains in five years."
Many Maine small business owners have also credit advertising on Portland radio with the growth of their businesses.
Scott Libby, owner of Royal River Heat Pumps in Freeport, credits his radio advertising campaign and its catchy jingle with doubling his sales in just one year. "When it comes to reach," says Mr. Libby, "radio is second to none."
Dr. Nicholas K. Roy, owner of Saco River Dentistry, reports a similar success. Dr. Roy credits his radio advertising with contributing to a 426% increase in new patients this year versus last year.
"It is hard to beat radio" says Jim Liponis, President of Northeast Technical Institute, a Maine based career school. "To recruit students, we have spent millions of dollars advertising our brand. We've always utilized a broad mix of media. Early on, newspaper ads were a staple for us. Lately, we've been pushing more money towards internet and digital."
"For the past 22 years, though," Mr. Liponis adds, "advertising on Portland radio has had the most consistent place in our marketing mix. We have found that radio has a strong presence in Maine. With the variety of great stations, we can really fine tune our demographics and tailor our message to get the attention of what we know to be our target audience."
When asked what advice he would give to other Maine small business owners who are considering advertising on Portland radio, Mr. Liponis says, "I believe that using radio successfully means having a plan to deliver a clear and concise message and to do it steadily and to work with a station representative who really knows the market and who will take the time to get to know your business."
"We have benefited," Mr. Liponis emphasizes, "from having great relationships in the business and when it is the right person on the radio side, it is really like adding marketing expertise to your team, without having to bring on the payroll."
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