Category Archives: Advertising

Five Radio Advertising Mistakes to Avoid

radio-advertising-mistakes-artdecodudeMuch of the gloss has gone from radio as a marketing medium. Push button radios make the ability to surf stations instantly and easy. Young people tend to surf around looking for a song they like, and switch stations when the ads come on. Radio stations advertising commercial-free periods are conditioning listeners to look for stations with no advertising. Advertising revenue has dropped 3.5% in the last 12 months alone in metropolitan Australia.

There is no doubt that radio is still a very effective advertising medium. Radio advertising reaches a huge audience every day. Each morning it is claimed 80% of people listen to the radio, and listen for an average of 146 minutes a day. It is one of the cheapest mass media options available. Many small businesses are tempted to begin their media campaign with radio spots.

Don’t Make These Mistakes

 

1) The wrong station

Radio stations target specific demographics or audiences. Ask yourself, who is your target audience. Their age and social position will give you some indication of the right radio stations to approach.

Contact the stations and ask for up to date information on their listeners. They are constantly monitoring their audience and know who is listening. Then think about your target market. Age and Sex are easy to ascertain, but their social status and attitudes are another story.

For example talk-back radio stations attract audiences over 50, but their attitudes will differ from people who listen to an “easy Listening” station, or a station playing hits of the sixties and seventies. If you are a Lexus dealership you want to target a different audience than a club advertising a Debbie Harry concert.

2) The wrong time

Once again look at your target market. Will they be at home or at school? Are they the type of person who will listen to the radio at work? Pass any building site, hairdresser, workshop or factory and there will be radios going. The average accountant will be less likely to be listening to talk-back radio while working, but he may be listening to the easy-listening stations.

Drive time is the most listened to period of the day, and also the most expensive. But if you are targeting housewives, that may not be the best time.

3) The wrong frequency

radio-advertising-mistakes-don-fulanoSmall businesses never have enough money for everything, and advertising is just one of those expenses. The Station rep or account manager will want to sell you a package offer, perhaps 25 spots. A common mistake on the part of the advertiser is trying to get the most out of the package by spreading those ad spots out.

Research shows that we are bombarded with anywhere from 500 to 1,700 commercial messages every day. We cannot remember them all, our brain filters them out.

The way to break through that filter is repetition. You must tell the listener your message over and over. And it needs to be the SAME listener over and over. But you can only afford 25 spots. So what do you do?

The station will want to spread your spots across the day and the month. To be effective you need to repeat the commercial to the same people. So do some negotiation with the sales rep. Instead of 30 spots across the month, spread them across three or five days. Negotiate to have them repeated in the same “daypart” or time of day. We are creatures of habit. We drive to work at the same time every day. We drive home at the same time every day. If you play your ads in morning and evening drive-time, most people will not hear both ads. They will hear half of them Remember, repetition is the key. Repetition is the key.

If 60,000 people hear your ad once, you have wasted your money, if 30,00 hear it twice, almost the same. if 5,000 people hear your ad 5 times it will penetrate and you should see results.

4) Too many stations at once

The same principle applies to using multiple radio stations. If you spread your advertising budget across multiple stations you will once again dilute the message by not reaching people often enough. Most people listen to the same station most of the time.

As a child I sat in front of the radio waiting for my favorite show to start at 5pm. The days when people switched from station to station to listen to specific persons or shows are long gone. Now, that is reserved for TV shows. we stay largely with one or two stations. Pick the best station for your target audience, and own it as much as funds allow.

5) Too much information

Radio is good for promoting a single thought. Save your radio advertising dollars until you have something newsworthy.

Advertise a sale, a special, the arrival of a new product range, and end of season sellout or a specific event. The follow up with a simple contact point. The address of the sale, The number to order tickets, or an easy to remember web site.
Keep the message simple, repetitive and memorable, and you will get good results.

Please let me know your experiences with radio advertising.

 

Images by ArtDecoDude and Don Fulano

Why Telstra Sucks – A Lesson in Poor Service

Telstra has gone from one of the most respected entities in Australia to a joke among it customers. Here is one reason why.

 

TelstraIt is a truism that good service is good marketing. Certainly it is easier and cheaper to keep an existing customer that it is to get a new one. Smart managers know this at put a lot of effort into retaining their existing customers.

 The last twelve months have seen me go from a very long term Telstra customer into a very disgruntled ex-customer.

This saga began when my business partner, who also is my son, was facing surgery and a protracted hospital stay. He had formerly worked from the office, and had not had a mobile phone. I use the mobile phone diffidently, usually to allow people to contact me, rather than me calling out. So the business had a low cost business plan with two mobiles sharing one data plan. It was economical and activated it in 2009.

So in October 2012 I went into a Telstra shop to activate a third phone.

Enter the clowns…

Our business plan was no longer available, to add a new phone we would have to move to a plan that was 20% more expensive. That was a shame, but not a deal breaker. I had an existing handset, and simply wanted a SIM and a connection to our business plan that allowed us to call between phones.

For some reason that was never explained, the phone first had to be activated with a 10$ pay as you go SIM. This was explained after the SIM was installed. This was annoying, because I already have three unused $10 PAYG SIMs in my desk drawer.

I waited for two hours while repeated calls where made, forms filled out and signed, whispered consultations and trips into the back room, and more calls. I left to get back to work, and returned the next day for another two hours. Just before the store closed I was assured they would get everything working the next day, and call me if there where problems. The phone was working, but I had data turned off until I was sure it was on a data plan. Given Telstra’s outrageous charges for casual data I was not taking risks.

All seemed well, the next phone bill looked about what I had expected. I paid it.

This is not my account number!

Then on the 11th of December I got a notice that my mobile phone account was in arrears. It was a account number I did not recognise. The Telstra shop had created a new account for my third mobile phone. Calls between it and the other two business phones where being charged and full rates. And a data pack had been added each month. In the meantime my existing phones had been moved to a more expensive plan, and both phones now had data packs, even though one handset did not have data capability. My mobile phone charges had gone up more that 300%.

Between 11 December 2012 and May 2013 I spent over eight hours on the phone over multiple calls trying to rectify the problem. The second account was cancelled, but I still had to pay the three months charges including multiple $15 data packs that had never been touched. My two existing phones where now being billed at almost three times the rate I had paid previously. All told the three phones where costing five times as much as the two had. And the Testra support lines could do nothing but promise it would be fixed NEXT month, just pay this bill, it will be fixed next time. It never was. 

They never missed sending a bill on time, though!

At the end of May, in total frustration, I moved to another carrier, and Telstra promptly billed me $344 for exiting my contracts early. I had been a mobile customer since the days of analog phones, my first being a Motorola brick that would just fit in a briefcase without bending the aerial.

I had been on a Telstra business plan for more than five years. But I was billed for early termination of my contract because Telstra had forced me to move to another plan so I could add my third phone.

Another 45 minute phone call got that termination fee halved. and I decided $172.02 was a small price to pay for finally being free of the worst customer service experience I have ever been through.

It was too much to hope for… When the SIM cards arrived from our new carrier, one phone demanded an unlock code. This was a handset I had bought outright from a Telstra shop more than two years before. I did not know it was network locked, because I was using it on the Telstra network.

Once again I went back to Telstra phone support. A 15 minute call gave me the assurance that I would have an unlock code within five working days. A week later I called again, and got the same assurance, and again a week later. On the fifth attempt I was a little more forceful. My problem was escalated to a supervisor, and I would get a call back within one hour.

Fortunately, I have a drawer full of old feature phones, and we pressed one back into service to keep us working. Because once again, nothing happened.

I called back in another week. I got the same routine. “Sorry sir, it is a priority, we will call back before close of business”.

$15 and 5 minutes accomplished what Telstra could not do in six weeks

The next day I  Googled unlocking Telstra handsets and in five minutes had payed $15 via Paypal to an individual in Australia. I thought the money might just disappear, but 30 minutes later I had the unlock code, instructions, and a phone number I could call if I had problems. within 10 minutes the phone was working again.

Something that Telstra should have done free, and had been promising for more than six weeks was done in 30 minutes for $15.

Like the previous fees, I considered it money well spent. I am now totally free of the bloated and inept Telstra. The total cost of getting that extra handset working ran to $480.42 above what I should have been charged. and when it was finally working with three phones on one light usage business plan it was costing 2.5 times as much as I am paying on my new carrier. And I am enjoying  four times as much data per month.  

Goodbye Telstra. Do something about your customer service or you will find yourself going the way of the dinosaurs. Too slow and stupid to respond to a changing world of social media and fast responding competition.

Photo Credit: Indigo Skies Photography via Compfight cc

Finally a Captcha With a Message

Killing two birds with one Captcha

While following a link from Google News to The Hindu Newspaper I found a Captcha that does more than make you prove you are not a Bot. It makes you think.

 

Captcha with a conscience
Captcha with a conscience

Not only is the graphic… well… graphic, it is a social message that will be repeated and reinforced.

And it is cost effective from the advertising point of view. This is a perfect example of lateral thinking.

Getting people to prove that they are humans and not bots is a thankless task, and annoying to the users. I take my hat off to NLPCaptcha,  the company that thought this one up.

And here is another example.

 

A visit to the NLPCatcha web site shows the application of this technology for advertisers and marketers.

social-captchaThe Captchas I saw on the Hindu web site where social in nature, but advertisers can use these Captchas. They come with some interesting benefits.

  • Unlike banner ads, they must be focused on and interacted with.
  • There is a foolproof way of counting views.
  • It is a necessary security tool, but can provide a revenue stream for the web site.
  • The user knows they need to interact and read the Captcha, so they do not resent the time spent. The advertiser gets guaranteed attention.
  • Better user experience compared to the hated popups, and ignored banners.

This idea is a win-win situation for visitors, advertisers and web site owners.

There may be a down side, of course. Your message is being associated with an annoyance. But I think most users understand the need for verification  And they are easier to use that the ones that require you to squint at blurry and twisted words!

 

Lessons From A Master Copywriter

There is a very good discussion of an excellent advertising campaign by Tom Albrigton at ABC Copywriting.

cat-poster-rt-2My only added comment would relate to the Medium used. A HAND WRITTEN poster.  Marshall McLuhan said “The medium is the message” meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived. The simple hand written poster has a greater impact that a professional looking poster would.

The the person who wrote this poster has a problem that is common, and posters are a common way of appealing for help. Recently a large area of Launceston was papered with hundreds of  laminated, professional looking colour posters about a lost or stolen dog, and offering a $5000 reward.

This poster is, for me, more effective. It is not just the message, that is discussed in detail in this post. The format, or medium contributes a powerful message itself.

Update: Tom advises that Merlin has been safely returned to his owner – sorry cats don’t have owners, they have STAFF.