Mention the Name of the Station…

Clients are afraid that the money they invest in their radio advertising is being wasted. Well here’s some news. Often it is! If you cram your commercials with features and not benefits, if you don’t engage your target market, and if you try to get them to visit AND go to your website AND call a phone number (for no apparent reason), if you try to cram ALL your spots or advertising activity into just the peak times… Yes! You are wasting your money.

Used correctly radio is extremely powerful. Most stations have research that tells you approximately how many people are tuning in. But clients want to “test” the radio. But what they are actually testing is the power of their offer to the listener. If you’re offering a key ring for every buyer of a new Jaguar XKS, you’re unlikely to get a great response.

But one of the things that irritates me on a brief is “Mention the name of the station and we’ll give you an extra 5% off”

It really is a bad cliché. And yesterday was the second time in 2 weeks that this “offer” landed in a brief into my inbox.

You want to make me jump through a hoop?

There are some good reasons not to do that in a radio ad. From the clients point of view, I know you want to see where your customers are coming from, but most listeners will not “ask” for that extra 5%. And the way that people listen to radio they may not even associate the offer with the station… why should they! And why are you making me jump through another hoop to get a great deal from you? First of all make it fun… and make the offer better! Your copywriter and sales rep can help you. If you make it fun, silly, entertaining AND a compelling offer (5% just doesn’t cut it!) you will see the response. But don’t penalise the customer who doesn’t know the silly hat he has to wear to get the discount! Make sure it’s open to everyone who does business with you.

From the station’s point of view, most radio stations make a huge investment building and protecting their brands… and although they are happy to let you buy airtime (that’s how they survive) they wont let you associate with their brand in a radio spot advert. They MAY let you do a promotion with the breakfast crew, or a drive time competition… but that is airtime that is controlled by the programmers.

For the listener, it’s just an irritation. If this advertiser wants my business, why do I have to mention the name of the station. It also assumes that the listener CARES about the station they’re listening too, and I’m afraid most of the time, they don’t. They care about the music, the entertainment, the news…. but they are not particularly bothered that they heard an ad on a particular station. And because radio is a visual medium for advertisers (yes, VISUAL) they often have difficulty with advertising recall linking their memories to audio. So why would they remember they heard the offer on Rushton FM? Why would I want to MENTION it? Even if I could!! Just to get an offer that hopefully you will give me anyway to get the sale. Get real!

Remember: You don’t have to TEST radio, it’s already tested and has ratings. What you are testing is the strength of your proposition to motivate the listener to action.

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The Phone Number—Does it Work? Brent Walker

I really like what Brett Walker has to say here about phone numbers. Much clearer that I ever could. Maybe I get to emotionally attached to wanting to do what’s right for clients! I am not completely opposed to phone numbers. But usually I can’t answer the question “why should I phone?”. If you want me to come to your showroom… give me a reason to do that. If it solves a problem in my life I don’t need “more details”.

The Phone Number—Does it Work? from Soundscapes on Vimeo.

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