Today’s guest blog post is courtesy of Karen Hayes, Principal, Marketing Consultant with Mount Marketing
Think for a minute. While you read this, another company or organization is targeting your customer. Regardless of what you’re offering — a product, service, or even information – another company is offering the same or similar. Advertising channels, once limited to TV, radio, print and direct mail, have exploded in recent decades. Now companies have multiple channels available to them to target and reach your customers: cable and network TV; radio; print; out of home; direct mail; social; mobile and digital among others. When you have a multi-billion dollar advertising budget, you can leverage a strategic combination of several channels to reach customers. But what happens when you are trying to reach a national audience with an advertising budget so limited that some multinational companies could spend more in one market? That’s the reality for some organizations.
As a marketing consultant, I solve a problem many companies and organizations face: finding, targeting and engaging the right customers. I develop strategies that help organizations, many of them nonprofits, reach millions of diverse customers in multiple languages. Yet there is a challenge my clients often have in common: a national campaign effort with a limited marketing and advertising budget. The need to reach multiple customer segments who speak different languages puts even more pressure on their budgets. Goals and a marketing strategy are always important, but they are absolutely critical when a budget is limited to ensure campaigns are effective and provide a solid return on investment.
Radio is among the top preferred options to stretch a national campaign budget. Whether an organization offers a product or service, or is trying to educate the public about an issue, customers still trust radio. According to an October 2016 MarketSherpa study of 2,400 consumers, 80% of them trust TV ads to make a purchase decision while 71% trust radio ads. Despite the rise in mobile, social and digital usage, radio and TV are still effective channels to reach customers. TV has national and global reach, but the problem for many organizations with a national footprint is affordability. There are two reasons that make TV cost prohibitive for many: 1) Costs to produce national TV spots and 2) Costs to air spots with enough frequency to be effective. Radio is an attractive solution to the TV affordability problem.
A favorite in my client toolbox is the use of radio, and more specifically syndicated radio, to reach a national audience. Depending on your goals and customer segments, focusing on a few key markets may make more sense than a national reach. Yet some clients have found success – and affordability — leveraging multiple nationally-syndicated radio shows to target, reach and engage customers across segments and languages. Some experiences available with radio make the medium even more attractive:
- “Family atmosphere” for listeners who can engage with talent or organization representatives via live call-ins to give opinions, share information, receive special discounts, or get advice;
- Connection with live talent for 4-5 hours each day the show airs;
- Customers can be reached simultaneously in multiple markets and multiple languages with messages customized for impact;
- Organizations can save money and increase relevancy when show talent does a live read or records a spot vs. paying to get a spot produced with voice-over talent;
- Organizations can target their budget more efficiently based on markets covered, culture and demographics, language, interest, daypart, etc.;
- Informative, on-air interviews can help customers nationwide make better decisions;
- Radio can be leveraged with social media channels to increase engagement and penetration nationwide.
These few examples demonstrate why radio and syndicated content are so attractive when a national advertising budget is limited.
What about results? In addition to unique experiences, radio delivers impressive results within budget: more inbound calls or texts, website visits, signups for a service, requests for information, changes in decision-making or more sales. For results, companies and organizations should always start with measurable goals and a solid strategy. The list of options to reach customers continues to grow as do the possibilities at all budget levels. When radio is the answer, companies and organizations who know their customers — where they live, what they listen to, and what makes them respond — have a great chance to succeed nationwide.