Insider's Advice for Radio Advertising, Part 2

Old-time Radio 2

Radio is Everywhere!
Radio is Everywhere!

More advertising advice for small businesses

(2) Continued from Part 1 ... So, what is the best advertising package for your cake bakery? Actually, you can't make a smart decision about these two radio advertising offers ... YET! You still need to know how many people listen to WABC and WDEF.

Assume that WABC tells you that they have an average of 60,000 listeners per day (which equals approximately 4,200,000 listener 'impressions' per week or about 18 million listener 'impressions' per month), for which we'll assume that nearly all of their 60,000 listeners will have heard your advertisement at least one time, as your ad will air twice every day (at random times) over the course of 30 days. At a cost of $6,000, you have just broadcast your advertising message to 60,000 WABC listeners and they all heard your advertising spot at least one time (what the advertising industry terms an 'impression'), during those 30 days. [Just trust me on these assumptions, because I don't want to over-complicate this too much.] Your $6,000 expenditure has just allowed you to reach approximately 60,000 WABC listeners at a net cost of just 10 cents per advertising impression.

On the other hand, WDEF informs you that they have an average of 12,000 listeners per day (equalling 84,000 listener impressions per week or about 360,000 listener impressions per month), with the other parameters being the same as WABC (see above). Your $600 expenditure has just allowed you to reach approximately 12,000 WDEF listeners at a net cost of 5 cents per advertising impression.

Obviously, your bakery is going to reach the great majority of WDEF's 12,000 radio listeners for a nickel apiece ... which is a much better deal than reaching the great majority of WABC's 60,000 radio listeners for a dime apiece! Which station would you choose, if you had the money and were trying to advertise to the most potential customers for the lowest cost? Of course, WDEF.

If Grocery Store A offers to sell you a 'box' of apples for $10, wouldn't you ask how many apples were in their box? Otherwise, how would you know if this was a better deal than that made by Grocery Store B, which wants to sell you a box of 100 apples for $20? Only a fool would buy the $10 box of apples from Grocery Store A, simply because $10 is a smaller sum than $20, right? So, why would you buy your advertising - of any kind - using such overly simple logic as, "This bunch of ads are $100 from Source A, but this bunch of ads are $200 from Source B, therefore the $100 bunch of ads - from Source A - is a better bargain for my business advertising!" Believe it or not ... I see business people using this kind of simplistic "bottom line" thinking just about every month, in my role as a radio advertising sales representative!

If you don't know the number - and type - of people you are trying to reach with a certain 'package' of advertising, you have no way to predict the likelihood of your advertising expenditure being cost-effective. (It's like buying an unknown quantity of apples for $10: did you just get a good deal on a hundred apples ... or did you just buy 2 apples for $5.00 apiece?)

(3) It's not just the number (quantity) of prospective customers you are trying to reach with your advertising, it's just as important to broadcast your advertising message to the right types (quality) of listeners, too. I wish I had a dollar for every businessperson or professional that I have discovered to be advertising to the wrong type of people, or at the wrong time, or of the wrong gender, etc.!

True Story #1: I once called upon a bridal and bridesmaid specialty dress store in a small city. The owner told me that she was already advertising at another radio station and was getting a great deal on the spots. When she told me her per-spot rate, I was surprised by how low-priced her radio advertising was. Upon asking, she told me her ads were being broadcast between midnight and 2:00 a.m. on the hardest, grungiest rock station in the area. (Most of this rock station's listeners were young males, aged 12 to 24.) Querying further, I found out that most (over 90%) of this bridal shop's customers were young and middle-aged women, aged 18 to 54 in common demographic terms. The owner finally admitted that she hadn't actually heard any of her customers say that they had heard or responded to her late-night advertising on this hard rock station. She probably would have had more effective advertising by leaving her business cards in the ladies' restrooms around her neighborhood!

True Story #2: I once called upon a small motorcycle customizing shop. They specialized in turning factory Harley-Davidson motorcycles into beautiful, customized 'choppers'. The previous year, the shop's owner sought out some price quotes for advertising his motorcycle business on the radio. He told me that he was offered the best package rate from our area's only 'soft contemporary music' station, KUSH. Soft adult contemporary music includes such musical artists as Barry Manilow, Elton John, Luther Van Dross, George Strait, Whitney Huston and hundreds of other soft / beautiful music singers and bands. This type of music has an 85 - 90% female listenership, mostly among women aged 45 to 84. So far, the chopper shop owner was disappointed with the low response he was receiving for his radio advertising investment. Need I say any more ...?

There is nothing inherently wrong about using any radio station, or any other advertising medium, for your business or professional advertising. But surely, you would agree that some advertising media are better for reaching your kind of customer and that some media outlets are just not cost-effective for reaching your target base of customers. In story #2 above, KUSH was a lousy radio station choice for a chopper cycle shop's male-oriented product advertising, but KUSH might have been a great place to advertise women's apparel, children's apparel, pet supplies, restaurants, food stores, healthcare products ... and wedding dresses and supplies.

As I am fond of telling my clients, "There may be a few elderly women listening to hard rock radio stations, but advertising on hard rock radio stations is not a cost-effective way to reach elderly women!"

You can find out the demographic reach of a radio station in two ways. The hardest, most time-consuming, but most unbiased way, is to do a lot of research on the internet. The easiest, quickest and usually-not-too-biased way, is to simply ask the radio station's advertising representative. But, if the advertising rep replies to your question about the station's demographics by saying that he/she "has no idea what demographic is all about" or that he/she believes that "station demographics are irrelevant to your business's advertising", I suggest that you run the other way. If the radio ad representative tells you that he/she doesn't know what audience demographics are, or that audience demographics are useless to you as an advertiser, then this person is either a total rookie ... or a total fool ... or a total liar! Run away from this salesperson ... or, at least, call the radio station's sales or general manager and ask that your account be re-assigned to a different, more knowledgeable sales representative!

Of course, paying too much for radio advertising ,,, or putting your radio advertising on the wrong radio station ... are not the only mistakes that a business or professional can commit while seeking to advertise on local radio stations. See Part 3 for more tips on making your radio advertising work for you and your small business ... simply click here.

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Radio can follow you almost everywhere

Boomboxes, MP-3s and car radios help commercial radio to reach out to people everywhere.
Boomboxes, MP-3s and car radios help commercial radio to reach out to people everywhere. | Source

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