Michael and Mary Jean Major own Cunningham Security Systems, a small business that provides custom designed, high quality, monitored security systems to residential and business customers in the Portland, Maine area. The Majors purchased the already successful company in 2005 from the founders, Nancy and Paul Cunningham. During their first two years of ownership, the Majors doubled their number of customers. Quite a remarkable accomplishment considering the competition.
Radio Results Blog
This week marks the 90th anniversary of the first radio commercial. On August 28th, 1922, radio station WEAF in New York City broadcast a 10 minute "talk" by the Queensboro Corporation to promote the sale of cooperative apartments in Jackson Heights. The commercial ran four more times over the next few days for a total cost of $500 ($6850 in today's dollars). Just like now, radio advertising proved remarkably effective and Queensboro reported selling two apartments as a direct result of the campaign. Other notable advertisers on WEAF in 1922 included Macy's, American Express, Colgate, and Met Life.
I have been listening to the radio all morning and have heard more than 30 commercials. It frustrates me to say that very few of these commercials had a point. They were each 150 words that wandered aimlessly for 60-seconds. As each commercial ended I often had no idea, even, what the business did. These advertisers all forgot the first rule of creating effective radio commercials: Do it With Purpose.
You have made the decision to invest your advertising budget in local radio. So you contact several radio stations and invite them to send a sales guy to make a presentation to earn your business. Each one makes a compelling argument for advertising on their station. Are there questions you can ask each sales guy to make sure you make a choice that will be effective for your business and get the most for your investment?
Don Draper, the mythical 1960s adman in the TV show Mad Men, has a lot to teach us about effective radio advertising in the 21st century. Here is, perhaps, Don's greatest lesson: