In about 43 months, radio turns 100 years old. So, it's a fair question for Maine small business owners to ask: Is Portland radio still relevant to listeners in 2017?
"You wouldn’t know it from all the media coverage focused on streaming video and streaming music," said media expert Doug Schoen in Forbes Magazine, "but recent Nielsen data shows radio actually has the most reach among American media consumers."
Other recent data supports Mr. Schoen's assertion. Not only is the venerable medium healthy, it remains a powerful force for both the listeners and for the Maine small business owners that advertise their goods and services.
Here is an overview of radio's robust vital signs.
1. Reach. According to research from Nielsen, AM/FM radio reaches 93% of all adults. This means 700,234 people in southern Maine tuned-in to a Portland radio station last week. This is a bigger audience than any other medium or technology. Significantly more people listen to the radio each week than watch TV, use a smartphone, listen to Pandora, or use satellite radio. Remarkably, radio's reach in 2017 is the same as it was in the year 2000, long before most of those other media were invented.
2. Radio Dominates The Dashboard. A study released this month by Edison Research makes it very clear that traditional AM/FM radio is still the dominate listening option for Maine's commuters. Even after 87 years of in-car entertainment no other medium comes close. Not Pandora. Not Sirius/XM. Not podcasts. Not Streaming. Surprisingly, the distant number 2 choice is commuter's own music collection on CD or MP3.
3. Return On Investment. Research giant Nielsen has produced 20 studies that demonstrate AM/FM radio can deliver what Ad Age magazine calls an "eye-popping return on investment." A study by the company released earlier this year produced similar results. It revealed that a radio advertising campaign conducted by an auto-aftermarket retailer generated $21.00 of incremental sales for every $1.00 invested.
Over a three-month period, according to Westwood One who commissioned the latest study, Nielsen matched its Portable People Meter panel with credit and debit card spending data in order to compare purchases of those exposed to the radio campaign with consumers who were not exposed. The results continue to demonstrate radio advertising's jaw dropping ability to improve a business owner's bottom line.
In addition to the 21-times ROI, the current Nielsen study also found that during the radio advertising campaign, the retailer experienced a 64% increase in brand new customers. It also found that the retailer's share of total auto aftermarket sales increased by 71%.
4. New Music Discovery. Over the past 98 years, radio has been introducing new music to Americans. Without radio, Benny Goodman, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks, The Spice Girls, and Beyonce would be veritable strangers.
Last week, Forbes Magazine published an article that proclaimed, "The good old radio still beats online services for music discovery. Quoting a recent study by Edison Research, Forbes points out that Americans depend more on radio to learn about new music than they do on YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, Sirius/XM, or Facebook.
"The implications of results like these are profound for the communications and advertising industries and as a marketing professional with over 35 years of experience, said Forbes' Doug Schoen." I found this data nothing short of fascinating. 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.
Maine Small Business Owners Affirm Radio's Relevancy
This robust bill of health has been affirmed by Maine small business owners who depend on Portland radio to advertise their goods and services. 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."
More Great Reads For Maine Small Business Owners
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