"Buying ads on Portland radio is a waste of money," lamented a Maine small business owner. "I tried it once, but it didn't work."
"Why did you advertise in the first place?" I ask.
"I thought if I got my name out there, my store traffic would increase," answers the disappointed owner. "So, I bought some commercials on my favorite radio station. After a few days: crickets!. So, I canceled the ads."
Radio can work very well for Maine small business owners. Real estate agent Cathy Manchester of Gray, Maine credits her ads on Portland radio for doubling her company's sales in just one year. Scott Libby, owner of Royal River Heat Pumps in Falmouth, Maine also credits his radio ads with doubling his business as well.
So, why don't all radio campaigns succeed like Ms. Manchester's or Mr. Libby's? Why do some campaigns end up as colossal waste of cash?
According to the Small Business Guide to Effective Radio Advertising, the number one reason some advertising fails is lack of a clear marketing objective. A well-defined marketing objective is the singular guiding force behind a successful radio advertising campaign. The marketing objective is used to determine the right radio stations to use; the times of day to advertise in; how long to advertise for; and what the commercials should say. Investing in a radio campaign without a marketing objective is like being lost in the woods without a compass and a map.
There are only two easily defined types marketing objectives to choose from:
- 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.
- PROMOTION 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.
Often times, an advertiser selects one of the following as a marketing objective. Both can be advertising suicide:
- Create awareness
- Build store traffic
Neither "objective" provides strong guidance to build an effective radio campaign. Can you convert awareness into cash register receipts? Will attracting traffic to your store that does not consist of qualified prospects result in a successful campaign? The answer to both questions is a loud, NO.
Target Customers By Lifestyles and Interests
A successful marketing objective includes a singular, well-articulated target consumer. Using gender and age alone is too broad to be effective. Instead, a marketing objective should target consumers by lifestyle and interests. Some examples could be:
- Working Moms
- Shoppers With Home Depot Credit Cards
- People Who Will Retire Within 5 Years
- College Graduates Who Are Under-employed
Finally, a marketing objective should stem directly from a business's major operational priorities. This way, the business owners can ensure their marketing efforts are linked to the success of their enterprise.
Increase the odds of your next advertising campaign working on Portland radio. Begin with a clearly defined marketing objective which is consistent with your businesses operating priorities.
Once you determine this objective, a reputable radio account executive will be able to help you fulfill the objective with an effective mix of radio stations and powerful commercials.
More great advice for Maine small business owners:
- Who Are The Best DJs on Portland Radio and Why It's Good For Business
- Maine Businesses Employ Portland Radio To Recruit Best Job Candidates
- Borrow These Radio Ads: Inspiration For Maine Small Business Owners
- Star Power Works For Maine Businesses Advertising On Portland Radio
- Is Anyone Still Listening To Portland Radio?
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