"You wouldn’t know it from all the news coverage focused on streaming video and streaming music," says marketing expert Doug Schoen in a recent article in Forbes, "But recent Nielsen data shows radio actually has the most reach among American media consumers." This is not only true across America, but in Portland, Maine as well where 699,526 adults tune-in to an AM/FM radio station every week.
A few months ago, I conducted a survey among Maine small business owners to measure their perception of how radio stacks up against other media. As Mr. Schoen pointed out, these business owners seemed to have been seduced into believing that newer media like Pandora, Spotify, Sirius/XM, and YouTube have eclipsed radio's reach. Perception, as Mr. Schoen professes, is not reality.
According to recent Nielsen research, AM/FM radio is the number one medium by far with 97% of adults tuning-in every month. No one else even comes close. Not TV. Not. Pandora. Not Spotify. Not YouTube.
Radio's gargantuan reach isn't just limited to older demographics, as some Maine small business owners may think. According to Nielsen, radio is ubiquitous in the life of every adult, regardless of age.Yes, radio does a better job reaching the elusive 18-34 year old audience than all other media.
Perhaps most important to Maine small business owners is the favorable return-on-investment advertising on Portland radio can deliver. Research giant Nielsen Catalina found, on average, radio commercials produce a $6.00 sales lift for every $1.00 invested. According to Ad Age magazine, these findings indicate that advertisers can expect higher returns-on investment from radio than TV, digital, or social media.
This ROI study from combined data from Nielsen's newly acquired radio-audience measurement business with shopper-card data from Catalina to link consumers' media usage directly to their buying decisions. Radha Subramanyam, a media executive with deep credentials in television, digital and radio said, ""I have never seen such consistent delivery against advertising metrics and this kind of massive return on investment."
Of particular importance to Maine small business is how well retail advertising performed in the study. Retail brands found the highest return on investment from radio advertising with results ranging from 11.1% ROI to 23.2% ROI. According to Ad Age, these results are "eye-popping."
Although some Maine small business owners' perceptions have been skewed by the attention paid to newer media, for other business people and marketing professionals, Portland radio has become an integral part of their advertising plans. This includes Scott Libby, owner of Royal River Heat Pumps in Falmouth.
According to Mr. Libby his sales of heat pumps have double over the past year. He attributes a large part of this achievement to the advertising he does on Portland radio. "When it comes to reach," says Mr. Libby, "Radio is second to none."
Cathy Manchester, a real estate agent based in Gray, Maine, has had similar results utilizing Portland radio as part of her company's marketing mix.
"When we began advertising on the radio several years ago," says Ms. Manchester, "our business doubled! We went from selling 100 homes a year to approximately 200 homes each year! Radio advertising continues to provide a steady stream of well qualified customers for us!"
Stacy Dodge, an owner of the Bill Dodge Auto Group with Maine locations in Westbrook, Saco, and Brunswick also lets reality not perception guide her company's media and marketing decisions. "We have been using Portland radio as a primary marketing source for about 10 years now." said Ms. Dodge. "We have seen very measurable results and are able to target our audiences more effectively."
"We are also more effectively able to market specific brands to a specific audience which is sometimes harder, and more expensive, to do with other mediums, said Ms. Dodge. "Radio is a very cost effective way to get your message out to the people you want to hear it."
Mr. Schoen suggests, at the conclusion of his Forbes article, to follow the advice of Mr. Libby, Ms. Manchester, and Ms. Dodge. Says Mr. Schoen, "It’s quite clear that we should all be paying more attention to radio, its reach and potential to help our businesses. It’s doing the job with expert efficiency."
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