The 700,000 people who tuned-in to a Portland radio station last week could not help but hear commercials for Amazon's Prime Day. Radio advertising is not a typical part of the company's advertising mix. Last week, though, Amazon broadcast a ton of commercials across the AM and FM dials.
Here's what Maine small business owners can learn from the world's second largest retailer: Advertising on radio delivers stunning results at the cash register. Cha-ching!
For the uninitiated, Prime Day was launched in 2015 by Amazon to celebrate the company's 20th anniversary. On Prime day, which now lasts for 36 hours, the company offers its customers Black Friday style pricing on a wide range of products.
Last year, Prime Day became Amazon's biggest sales day ever, exceeding all previous Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays. This year, the record was surpassed again as Amazon sold more than 100 million products during the 36 hour sale.
Radio Advertising Linked To Prime Day Success
The over-the-top success of this year's Prime Day can be directly linked to Amazon's radio advertising including the commercials heard on local Portland radio stations.
IPSOS, a global research company, in a study commissioned by Cumulus Westwood one, examined how advertising affected Amazon's sales during the 36 hours of Prime Day. To collect data, IPSOS surveyed 2,010 Americans 18 and over with an online survey during and after the event.
According to Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus Westwood One, among all adults who were aware of Amazon's Prime Day radio advertising, 25% made a purchase. The radio ads, among this broad audience, delivered about as well as online ads, and 13.6% better than television ads.
Radio Ads Out Performs Online and TV Advertising
Where, radio really delivered for Amazon was among 18-49 years old. Thirty eight percent of this younger audience who were aware of the ads on AM/FM radio made a purchase during the Prime day event. Radio performed 18.7% better than online ads and a whopping 22.5% better than TV ads.
A similar study conducted a few years ago demonstrated strikingly similar results. When media and marketing expert Doug Schoen saw the results, he was amazed.
"The implications of results like these," said Mr. Schoen, "are profound for the communications and advertising industries and as a marketing professional with over 35 years of experience, 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."
Amazon's success using radio advertising to drive the biggest sales day in its history will not come as a surprise to the Maine small business owners and local marketers who depend on Portland radio to make their cash registers ring.
Maine's Version of A Billboard
Case in point. Tucker Cianchette, owner of Tucker Ford, credits Portland radio as part of his mix for success. "We advertise on radio, says Mr. Cianchette, "because it allows us to get a personal message to a very large audience from every demographic. This is Maine's version of a billboard."
Other Maine business owners and marketing professionals, too, have benefited from Portland radio's proximity to consumer's buying decisions. This includes Stacy Dodge, owner of Bill Dodge Auto Group. Her company runs 8 dealerships throughout southern Maine including brands such as Kia, Infiniti, BMW, Cadillac, and Hyundai.
"We have been using 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."
Ms. Dodge goes on to say, "It is extremely important to be able to keep your ads current and there is a very quick turn around with radio. A new program or incentive can be announced to us in the morning and we can be on the air with a current ad reflecting the most recent information in the afternoon."
"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."
Portland Radio Provides Word Of Mouth
Jim Darroch, Director of Marketing for Madison based Backyard Farms, has successfully utilized the endorsements of Portland radio personalities to expand his company's business. "Our most powerful marketing tool is a happy customer telling his/her friends about our tomatoes, said Mr. Darroch. "When popular radio personalities share their honest thoughts and opinions about Backyard Farms with their audiences, we're able to reach thousands of people with the power of a friend's recommendation."
Theresa Torrent, Senior Planner of the Maine Coastal Program, echoes Mr. Darroch's strategy of leveraging the equity radio personalities have with their listeners. "It has proven to be the most effective method that we have tried for getting our message to a receptive audience," said Ms. Torrent. "With radio we have been able to create engaging messages often working with the radio hosts who the listeners know and trust."
Marc Greenberg, owner of Marc Motors in Sanford, Maine is a long-time radio advertiser. When asked why he continues to invest in radio advertising, Mr. Greenberg simply says, "Because it works."
More great advice for Maine small business owners
- This Is Your Brain On Radio. Advice For Maine Small Business Owners.
- Target The Heart: Advertising Advice For Maine Small Business Owners
- Advertising On Public Radio. Should Maine Small Business Owners Do It?
- A Tip For Maine Small Business Owners From Top Marketing Companies