People don’t listen to radio the way you do.

On a station I worked at we did a special deal for regular advertisers. We gave them bonus spots. But these spots could go out at any time. Day or Night. One day he called me. “Simon, I heard one of my spots go out at 3 in the morning! No one listens at 3 in the morning!” “You were.” I replied. He laughed, said “Good point!” and hung up.

Just because YOU listen to radio in a certain way, does not mean the listener does.

In Nairobi the breakfast shows are jam packed with advertisers, all fighting for their unfair share of voice. But then the rest of the day quiets down, until the afternoon drive time. Why? Because most of the people who make decisions about advertising are driving too and from work at those times. Yes, it is a peak time! But there is a significant radio audience for the rest of the day, people that could use your product or service, if only you were there to give them a reason to do so. By all means run a peak time campaign, but don’t miss out on those people who are listening the rest of the day, even the night.  This is one of the great strengths of spot advertising. Your station can run these all through the day, during different times  each day, to hit people who have different listening habits. So if you run a spot on a Monday at 8.05am, don’t run it on Tuesday at 8.05am… maybe run it at 8.40am. So you hit the person with slightly different morning habits.  Run spots in the morning, through the afternoon, even during the night. I once had a client who insisted on his ads only running at weekends. That was when HE listened. He wasn’t thinking like a smart advertiser. If your message is compelling, and you can hit as many people as possible, across the day, 7 days a week, you have a formula for success.

The radio audience is not a standing army, it is a passing parade.

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Repetition Builds Reputation

I knew my mother was mad at me. Her Irish eyes flash. Then comes the phrase that I hate. “How many times have I told you….” Insert the appropriate completing phrase.

You can choose from several. Not to throw dirty socks around the room. Not to throw food at my sister. Not to eat sweets before dinner. Any parent will know, to get a response from your children you have to repeat and repeat the message.

David “Giff” Gifford, a US Radio Sales Guru tells clients, “What you say times how many times you say it is the only thing that works in advertising today! Repetition builds reputation!” It’s true! And one of the great benefits of spot advertising is that you can deliver the same message over and over again. You can run the same creative across multiple stations. You know that the same message is being heard several times by the average listener. In the USA someone came up with a figure, the average number of times the average listener would have to hear a message before they respond to it. It was 3.42 times. Of course there is no “magic” number. It then depends on your message. If there is no reason to purchase, you may hear the message 250 times before you act on it. If it’s an amazing, never to be repeated offer, you may see a huge response after just a few spots have aired. The secret it to be on the radio all the time. You could start your campaign with a heavy schedule, then after a few weeks reduce the spots to a fairly light weight campaign. When you have something new to offer, or a special event or sale, go back to the heavy weight schedule. You can also use a combination of longer creative treatments and shorter reminder commercials. Ask your radio sales person about the different options.

And a note to my mother, I would have stopped throwing my dirty socks around the bedroom years ago, if you’d given me a really good reason not to!.

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