Monday, July 31, 2006

RADIO ADVERTISING COMMANDMENTS - Part 3

Radio Commandment Number 8
Thou Shalt Use Radio To Build Strong Business Alliances.

When you advertise on radio you hope to reach many thousands of listeners. But there is one type of listener few retailers think about. It is this person that can be just as important and sometimes, more important than your intended market - Business associates.

Buyers, manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors. People that you do business with on a day to day basis.

The benefits of influencing your secondary markets through radio advertising is important for several reasons.

1. It legitimizes your business, especially if you're the new kid on the block.
2. It opens doors to suppliers who may not have been interested in selling product to you.
3. It gives you the opportunity to invite your business associates to work out exclusive promotions.
4. You can create a co-op situation and share the cost of your radio advertising with a preferred supplier. In some cases you can get them to pitch in from 25% - 75%!
5. You can carry a bigger stick when you visit your bank manager.

Speaking of banks, there is this story of a company looking to get a bank loan to start up a jean company. Of course, the bank had no fashion sense, didn't see the potential and rejected the loan request.

So the owners went and booked a full scale campaign on radio who gladly gave them time & terms. The radio spots ended up creating a huge demand for the jeans at the boutique and department store level. The owners, now armed with hundreds of thousands of dollars in purchase orders were able to get the necessary loans from the bank to manufacture the goods!

Quite a risk to take, but very effective! I suspect that good timing may have been a secret ingredient.

Speaking of timing.

This brings me to Radio Commandment number 9
Thou Shalt Know When To Book Radio

There's nothing more frustrating than preparing a good advertising plan only to find out that most of the radio stations in your budget are sold out!

Yes it's true. Radio stations sell out. Not all of them, but certainly the top-rated ones.

Buy your time late and several things happen. The on-air schedule you get is mostly outside of prime time. Spot rates can go up. And some clients even get bumped for higher paying clients. (don't say I told you so).

This can definitely affect your entire Ad campaign, especially when your other Ads in complimentary media need support. (I'll be discussing the importance of creating a balanced advertising campaign in my next blog).

My recommendation: Always buy electronic media (radio / TV) as far in advance as possible.


Which brings me to Radio Commandment number 10
Thou Shalt Book The Right Radio Station

I am always amazed at how many retailers buy a station simply because THEY are a listener. The only reasons to do this is to reach like-minded business associates, or to stroke your ego.

Although there are many things to consider when buying radio, the 2 most important things as far as I'm concerned are:
1. The Target Market (the listeners/shoppers you want to reach)
2. The Cost per radio spot

I'm talking about buying local radio in a market you know. Otherwise, if you're looking to run a campaign in another city, you must rely on stats. Arbitron offers radio stats in the U.S., and Canada offers complete listener profiles from the BBMs. (Bureau of Broadcast & Measurement).

Now there are many ways to buy radio depending on who you want to reach and what you're trying to sell.

Prime time periods, though heavy with listeners, may not be the best time to pitch, for example,
a night club.

I would suggest running spots Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights. People at that time are out partying or looking to party and are more inclined to take your queue and drop in.

Consequently, you pay far less for that time period, and you zero in on the listeners who are most receptive.

Now, many stations consider their prime periods as morning and drive, and costs vary wildly depending how many listeners a station reaches within any given time period.

Although you can target specific time periods to reach your market, in many cases I prefer to buy a rotation plan. This allows you to reach different types of people throughout the day instead of reaching
the same listeners every single morning. This scenario may be good "frequency" (how many times a person hears your spot), but is poor for "reach" (how many different people hear your spot).

Rotation plans are also cheaper and in the long run, get the job done quite well. Radio stations also love selling rotation plans, because it evens out their spot distribution.

I mentioned above, that you should buy radio as far in advance as possible. But is there a time when you shouldn't buy radio in advance?

YES. And it can get you the lowest rates possible. Stay tuned to my next blog. You'll love this!

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