For a Maine small business owner's advertising to be effective, it must find its way into the brain of prospective customers. The fastest path to success is through the ear.
Our brains can process a sound in 0.05 seconds. This is 5 times faster than it takes for our minds to process visual stimuli. We can recognize the beginning of the 5th symphony by hearing just one or two notes, but we would need to interpret millions of pixels to recognize that it is actually Beethoven sitting on the piano bench hammering those notes out.
Of all sources of audio input, Maine consumers are partial to Portland radio. Last week alone, according to Nielsen, more than 700,000 adults living in Southern Maine tuned into their favorite station. The latest data reveals this is by far more than watched TV, read newspapers, used a smartphone app or listened to Spotify and Pandora combined.
When it comes to audio media, Edison Research reveals that AM/FM radio overwhelming commands the ears of consumers. Who is #2? Not Pandora. Not Spotify. Not Sirius/XM. Not iHeart. Not Apple. Not YouTube. The distant number two are personal music collections...your CDs, your MP3s, your vinyl.
Because audio is the express-lane to a consumer's brain and radio is the dominate medium, it is no wonder that radio ads deliver such powerful results.
Local Ad Recall, a research company that measures the effectiveness of advertising, found that brand recall was 516% higher for companies that advertised on the radio vs. companies that did not. Consequently, Maine businesses that advertise on Portland radio have a much better chance of being remembered by prospective customers than companies who don't advertise on radio.
Nielsen found similar results. Across several different business categories, on average, radio advertising improved recall by 82%. The businesses measured were a health and beauty company; an information technologies company; an auto aftermarket retailer; a motorcycle company; and a mobile app company.
Source: Nielsen 2016-2017
Scott Libby, owner of Freeport, Maine based Royal River Heat Pumps, has seen first-hand how effective brand recall is for his small business. He credits his radio advertising with contributing to a 200% increase in sales in one year.
When you ask Mr. Libby what he does for a living, he won't say he sells heat pumps. He tells anyone who asks, though, "I am a marketer. My company sells and installs heat pumps, but it's my job to make the phone ring,"
To market Royal River Heat Pumps, the company started using print advertising with some success. "But," says Mr. Libby, "Every time I would turn on the radio I would hear one of my competitors. So, I decided, reluctantly, that I would try it, too. According to Mr. Libby, he began to see results immediately.
Radio Ad Recall Was Immediate
"Twice in the same week," says Mr. Libby, "I showed up at new-home construction sites. When the builders, who I never met before, introduced me to their crews, the workers immediately began singing my radio jingle. I knew right then radio was working."
Contractors and builders have contributed greatly to the success of Royal River Heat Pumps. Mr. Libby says, "They are a strong source for referrals and repeat business. When a contractor recommends us to a homeowner, that comes with a huge amount credibility. Our [radio ads] keeps us top of mind when it comes time for them to refer us."
As important as contractors are to Mr. Libby's success, the majority of his sales comes directly from homeowners. His radio advertising is working there, too.
Customers Remember Radio Ad Word-For Word
"I went on one sales call to meet a married couple at their home," say Mr. Libby. "The husband told me about how he and his wife sing the radio jingle together when it comes on. I offered them a small discount if they would sing it for me right then, which they did. To my surprise, with the exception of a few words here-and-there, they got it right."
As the husband and wife were singing Mr. Libby knew, his ad recall among radio listeners was high. "Our radio advertising makes us more than just a service provider. It makes us fun and memorable."
Mr. Libby does not conduct sophisticated market research like Nielsen or Local Ad Recall. He, however, lets his cash register keep score. Noting that his sales doubled during his first year of advertising, he proclaimed, "Radio is second to none."
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