Category Archives: Sales Tools

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

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.

Not all Marketers are in the Marketing Department

 

A Big Opportunity

A Workstation - Courtesy Wilson Afonso
A Workstation – Courtesy Wilson Afonso

Some years ago I worked for a computer company that was (at that time) the sixth largest computer company in the world. We had just won a contract to supply 22,000 color computer work-stations to one of the biggest government departments in Australia. This was pre-Internet, and almost pre-PC. Microsoft was selling MS/DOS (probably 2.2) and a good computer had one floppy- disk and a 10Mb  hard-disk.

Our sales department had made some foolish compromises to win the contract, one being free training. Training is one area that companies like ours actually made money in, and it had been given away. We needed a smooth transition to the new equipment.

A Big Problem

Then the Union got involved. The keyboards for the new terminals where too stiff. Staff would get RSI (repetitive strain injury) from using the new, stiff keyboards. The keyboards had to be modified.

The keyboards were a new type, much like the typical computer keyboard today. They had extra dedicated function keys, but were similar in design to the keyboard you probably have in front of you now. Key pressure was controlled by a spring under every key. changing the key pressure required replacing the springs in 22,000 workstations, 2.64 million springs.

The company was fighting for it’s life. The government department wanted its terminals installed, and the Union (like most Unions) would not be moved. We had a meeting of all parties to try and resolve the issue.

The Union representatives sat and typed. Sorry, too hard on the hands, we need a solution. The three parties went to and fro for an hour with no solution. We were looking at the biggest financial disaster in the company’s history.

Then the service technician, who was on hand to make sure there where no problems with the terminal during the meeting stepped up and offered to provide a solution.

He sat and made a couple of changes and the stepped back saying “that should do it, but I can go a bit further”. The Union rep sat and typed. Then she called in her number two, who also sat and typed for a minute or two. They agreed it needed a little more work. The technician went back to the terminal, unruffled, and made another change.

This time the Union reps where unanimous, the changes where acceptable. Crisis averted. We left the meeting relieved but puzzled. What had our tech. done?

A lateral Solution

He admitted that he had simply lowered the volume of the click that was produced through the terminal speaker to make up for the lack of a physical click by these new keyboards. It had made no difference to the feel of the keyboard, the effect was purely psychological. Nonetheless, the workstations went into service and lived a long life.

A sudden piece of lateral thinking had changed a potential disaster into a victory. And that thinking had not come from the sales department or management, it had come from a field technician with an idea.