If you were one of the 699,526 adults who tuned-in to a Portland radio station last week, then the odds were in your favor that you heard a commercial for O'Reilly Auto Parts. This is to be expected since the auto parts giant was one of the top radio advertisers last week, just behind Home Depot and GEICO. Like many Maine small business owners, O'Reilly uses radio to fuel the company's dominance and expansion in its product category.
O'Reilly is a specialty retailer of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment. The company's stock is listed on the NASDAQ (ORLY) and has a market capitalization of more than $27 billion dollars.
But at it's heart, O'Reilly is very similar to many family owned, small businesses in Maine. The company can trace its corporate roots back to 1849 when Michael Byrne O'Reilly immigrated to St. Louis to escape the potato famine in Ireland. Through hard work, determination, and smart marketing (traits shared by a lot of Maine small business owners), the company grew from one store in 1957 to 4623 stores today. Clearly, radio advertising has been critical to the company's ongoing success.
The 5 advertising lessons learned by companies like O'Reilly, Home Depot, and GEICO can be duplicated on Portland radio by Maine small business owners. Here they are:
1. Radio Reaches More Consumers Than Any Other Medium
When the first radio commercial was broadcast in 1922, it was only heard by a handful of people. After all, radio receivers were still rare in those days. To actually listen, consumers needed the help of books with titles such as "Radio Receiver For Beginners", which, according to The United States Early Radio History by Thomas H. White, reported that "thousands of twelve year old boys, and girls" had already successfully set up radio receivers for "entertaining their families and friends", and that their introductory book would show others how to participate in the "magic" of the "radio wonderland".
Ninety-four years later in 2016, radio reaches, according to Nielsen, more people than any other medium. Each month, 97% of Americans tune-in to traditional AM/FM radio. This is more than TV, online video, online audio or smartphone apps.
2. Radio Reach Consumers of All Ages Including Millenials
There seems to be a widespread belief that new media such as Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, and Facebook have siphoned off radios younger listeners. According to The Comparable Metrics report published by Nielsen, this belief is just wrong. Radio reach more than 90% of consumers of every age.
3. Radio Has The Greatest Return-on Investment of Any Advertising Medium
Nielsen-Catalina research discovers, 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.
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."
4. Radio Dominates Consumers Ears
According to a study from Edison Research, Americans spend 4 hours each day listening to audio entertainment. Despite the proliferation of new audio media like Pandora, Spotify, Sirius/XM and Podcasting, traditional AM/FM radio is still winning the battle for listeners' ears. The study reveals that over-the-air radio commands a 52.1% share of all audio consumption. Who was #2? People's own music collection. Everyone else is an also-ran.
5. Time Spent Listening To Radio Remains Consistent Despite New Options
At the end of last year, Nielsen, the leading source of media research in the world, compiled all the data for consumer media. The findings indicate that adults listen to traditional AM/FM radio for 1-hour-and-forty-nine minutes per day. This was about the same amount of time they were listening 3 years ago despite the continued onslaught of new media options.
These 5 facts don't come as a surprise to everybody. Many of Maine's business owners and marketing professionals depend on Portland radio to fulfill their marketing objectives. This includes Stacy Dodge, an owner of 8 automobile dealership in Southern Maine.
"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."
Cathy Manchester, a real estate agent based in Gray, Maine, credits her advertising on Portland Radio with the ongoing success of her business.
"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!"
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