Sometime during the first century AD, Roman statesman Seneca The Younger uttered the greatest advertising advice ever: "Non refert quam multos sed quam bonos habeas." Translation: "It is quality rather than quantity that matters." Sadly, two thousand years later, many advertisers on Portland Maine radio stations have not heeded this wisdom. Instead, small business advertisers are seduced by the size of a station's audience and not the intrinsic quality of the audience. Fortunately, there are highly-regarded, non-biased research tools to help small business owners to make the best media buying decisions.The cost of advertising on a radio station is, generally, directly proportional to the number of listeners it has. The most listened to station in Portland, therefore, is usually the most expensive on which to advertise. When advertising on a budget, however, the station with the greatest quantity of listeners may not be the best value for your marketing dollars because you will pay for every person who hears your commercial...even those listeners who may never buy your product or service. In many cases, smaller, less-expensive radio stations may be more likely to reach the customers you are seeking than the larger, more expensive stations.
A Well Defined Target Consumer Is Critical To Advertising Success
According to The Small Business Guide To Effective Radio Advertising it is extremely important to define a target consumers in terms of socio-economic characteristics and buying habits rather than broad age and gender characteristics. So, for instance, if you were the owner of a furniture store in the Portland Maine area, your advertising should specifically target consumers who are likely to buy furniture. A recent study by Scarborough, the qualitative research division of Nielsen, indicates that 7.5% of consumers in southern Maine are planning to buy furniture within the next year. The most listened to radio station in Portland is WJBQ (Q97.9). But, according to Scarborough, only 7.8% of its listeners are likely to buy furniture next year. Fifteen percent of the audience on WMGX (Coast 93.1), a station with fewer listeners than Q97.9, are likely to buy furniture next year. In other words, the listeners of Coast 93.1 are 95% more likely to buy furniture next year than the listeners of Q97.9. So, every dollar spent to reach prospective furniture buyers works more efficiently on WMGX than on WJBQ.
In marketing, comparing the percentage of a target consumer in the general population to the percentage of the target consumer among a station's audience is called indexing. The formula for calculating an index is [(% of Target Consumer In Market)/(% of Target Consumer Among Station Listeners)x100]. In the furniture store example above, the index would be 100 [(3.7/3.7)*100=100]. When, as in this example, the index equals 100, that means that the instance of target consumers among a radio station's audience is exactly the same as the instance of target consumers among the general population.
The Value of Qualitative Indexing
So suppose a Portland area appliance store wanted to specifically target Home Depot shoppers who were planning to make a major appliance purchase over the next 12 months. In southern Maine, 4.4% of consumers fit this description. Research indicates that only 3.4% of the Q97 fits this description. That would be an index of 75. In other words, the audience of the most listened to station is 25% less likely than the general population to be Home Depot Shoppers who plan to make a major appliance purchase over the next 12 months.
On the other hand, WPOR, another Portland Maine radio station, has fewer listeners but 5.5% of them are Home Depot shoppers who plan to make a major appliance purchase in the next 12 months. This would compute to an index of 125. This means the station's audience is 25% more likely than the general population to be Home Depot shoppers who plan to make a major appliance purchase over the next 12 months. Additionally, the index tells us that the audience of the less listened to radio station is 50% more likely to match the target audience than the station with more listeners.
Media Selection Based On Quality Has A Higher Return On Investment
So if you were the owner of the hardware store and you working with a limited advertising budget, then which station should you choose? Clearly, the best choice is WPOR even though it has a smaller audience. The reason is simple. Everyone who hears your commercial will be 125% more likely to be your target consumer than the listeners of Q97.9. No doubt, a much better return on investment.
Scarborough qualitative research can be provided my many reputable media outlets including the stations of Portland Radio Group and WGME television. A station representative can help you define your target audience and then utilize the research to make sure you choose the media that best deliver your best prospects.
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