At least once per week a Maine small business owner tells us, "I tried advertising on Portland radio once, but it didn't work". We have seen radio work very well for companies of all sizes. We have also seen radio fail miserably.
According to the Small Business Guide To Effective Radio Advertising, radio campaigns that don't work usually have one thing in common: the lack of a well articulated marketing objective. The marketing objective is the singular guiding force behind a successful 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.
Fortunately, there are only two types of 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 people to your store who aren't qualified prospects result in a successful campaign? The answer to both questions is a loud, NO.
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. 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.
Radio advertising does work with strict adherence to a well-conceived marketing objective.
Radio Advertising Returns Eye Popping Return On Investment
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. Small businesses who advertise on Portland, Maine area radio stations have found this to be true also.
Cathy Manchester, a Maine base real-estate agent, expanded her sales by 100% after investing in radio advertising for one year. Cathy says, "It's a rarity when calls [generated from radio ads] don't turn into business immediately." Michael Storey who owns a Portland area landscaping company said, "We experienced a 45% growth in one year once we went on the radio." Michael Major of Cunningham Security concurs. He says, "When we are not on the radio our phones don't ring."
Massive Return On Investment
The ROI study from Nielsen Catalina Solutions 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."
"Part of the high ROI relates to radio's relatively low pricing." said Ms. Subramanyam. Combine affordability with radio's ability to reach 93.1% of all consumers in the Portland area, and the ROI formula becomes obvious to any Maine small business including Mathews Brothers a window manufacturer in Belfast, Maine. According to Bob Maynes, the company's director of marketing, ""We were the oldest company in the country that no one ever heard of." But in just six weeks, radio solved that problem."
Radio Advertising Returns $7.70 for Every $1.00 Invested
The Nielsen Catalina study of radio ROI reflect the findings of another study conducted in 2013 by major international media buying companies including Mindshare, Mediavest, Mediacom, and Havas. Their study revealed that radio advertising returned $7.70 for every $1.00 spent. This was a higher return than those of newspaper, billboards, and online.
Other studies by Nielsen have shown radio returning even higher return on investments:
- Maine Small Business Owners Listen Up: Radio Returns 17 Times Return on Investment
- Investing in Portland Radio Proves To Be Sound Advice
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