Since 1925, Maine small business owners have depended on Portland radio for advertising their products and services. Many of these local companies credit their radio ads with doubling or tripling their sales.
Sometimes, though, radio advertising fails. This could happen because commercials are placed on the wrong radio station. Or, the commercials were not engaging or compelling. Other times the advertiser did not invest enough to ensure success.
The number one reason advertising on Portland radio could fail, though, is the lack of a marketing objective. According to the Small Business Guide to Effective Radio Advertising, a well-articulated objective is critical for the success of any campaign.
Some Maine business owners might mistakenly identify their marketing objective as "getting my name out there", "creating a buzz", or "increasing foot-traffic". But, achieving any of those goals will not ensure success.
Sometimes the business owner could simply think they need "exposure". Exposure did not end well for the Donner party or Pee Wee Herman. And, if "exposure" is your marketing objective, then your campaign will probably end just as badly.
The Two Types Of Marketing Objectives
A well-crafted marketing objectiv- should have a singular focus and stem from a company's critical business priorities. Objectives fall into one of two categories: branding or promotion.
- 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: Make working mothers 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: Compel people who maintain their own cars to buy 3 quarts of motor oil at my store this weekend.
According to Gerry Tabio, President of Creative Resources and co-author of Creating Demand, a well-articulated marketing objective, like the 2 above, should have 5 elements. Mr. Tabio describes these elements by the acronym TOPPS...Target Outcome Product Place Season.
T - Choosing A Target
When choosing a target for a marketing objective, it is preferable to use lifestyles and interests rather than just age and gender. For instance, a typical marketing campaign might choose to target adults, 25-44 years old. A more powerful target, though, might be:
- Working Moms
- Shoppers With Home Depot Credit Cards
- People Who Will Retire Within 5 Years
- College Graduates Who Are Under-employed
O - Identifying An Outcome
The outcome of a well-articulated marketing objective should reflect what the business owner wants a potential customer to do or believe. For instance:
- Make working moms believe... (branding)
- Compel people who maintain their own cars to buy... (promotion)
P - Selecting A Product
The first "P" of the TOPPS is the particular product, company or service the outcome pertains to. Example:
- Make working Moms believe the safest daycare in town...
- Compel people who maintain their own cars to buy 3 quarts of motor-oil...
P - Selecting A Place
The second "P" of a marketing objective refers to the place or business intrinsic to success. Example:
- Make working Moms believe the safest daycare in town is Candyland Daycare
- Compel people who maintain their own cars to buy 3 quarts of motor-oil at Aut-o-rama...
S - Choosing a Season
Finally, the "S" that refers to the season, date, or time a marketing result should occur. The "S" can be optional with a branding objective, but is necessary with most promotional objectives. Example:
- Make working Moms believe the safest daycare in town is Candyland Daycare by next summer.
- Compel people who maintain their own cars to buy 3 quarts of motor-oil at Aut-o-rama this weekend.
Winking In The Dark
Investing in an advertising campaign on Portland radio without a TOPPS based marketing objective is no different than the Donner's trying to traverse the Sierra-Nevada mountains in the winter...plenty of exposure, but no success to speak of.
A fully-developed marketing objective will help the business owner determine which Portland radio stations to use; the necessary duration of the campaign; as well as the length of the commercials and the content.
To paraphrase historian and academic Steuart Henderson Britt: Advertising without a marketing objective is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.
More Advice For Maine Small Business Owners
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- Portland Radio Rises Above Static For Maine Small Business Owners
- Top Reasons Maine Business Owners Love Advertising On Portland Radio
- Grab An Unfair Share of Maine's Retail Boom For Your Small Business
- What Amazon Knows That Some Maine Business Owners Don't
- 150,000 Reasons To Advertise on Portland Radio