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It was good to meet everybody in Norfolk. Norfolk reminds me of Charleston, our hometown, with the creeks and rivers and bays and bridges and beautiful vistas.
Over the next few weeks and months you will notice changes in our workshop, our PowerPoint, our Newsletter. Our changes will reflect how the ad world is changing. More and more business owners and their advertising and marketing directors are rushing to keep up with the monumental shift in the job of "reaching new potential customers". There is a seismic shift toward the "new" media and away from the "old".
Yellow pages are no longer the "directory" of choice. Newspapers are shutting down or declaring bankruptcy and going to a digital delivery system. Satellite delivery of the television signal and multiple systems make cable television's reach deteriorate. Direct mail struggles to deliver more than a 2% ROI. Digital, LED billboards are banned in a dozen states and cities. Even that old standby, radio, fights to win back the millions of listeners that hold tightly to their iPods.
And then there's the INTERNET!
Over 90% of home buyers have shopped on line BEFORE they bought a home. Car dealers sell more cars online than they do in their showrooms. Want your carpet cleaned? Roof fixed? Wedding reception catered? Want to check pharmacy prices and services?
How about when you need new...windows; fencing; eyeglasses; a seafood restaurant; bank; or taxidermist? Check it out - ONLINE.
Over 90% of the US is online on a regular basis: shopping, researching, pricing, getting to know you and your business. We hope you are working on your website constantly....AND PROMOTING IT!!
We talk branding all the time. We talk the value of branding your business, especially with your web site. Electronic media still remains the best way to brand your business. Be sure to always mention your web site in everything you do...newspapers, matchbooks, billboards, business cards, storefront signs, radio and tv ads, company uniforms and vehicles.
A recent survey from Network Solutions showed 75% of small businesses have a company page on a social networking site...is yours posted?
We came across a great article: Rethinking Radio, by Skip King, Managing Director of AXON Design and Marketing. Portland ME - article follows below...
| We've spent the past few months looking at various forms of social media and how you can use them. Social media might be all the buzz right now, but as we've noted, it's simply another arrow in the marketer's quiver.
Meantime, don't overlook some of the more traditional approaches - like broadcast. For the next few months we'll examine radio and television as ways to get your message out.
We'll start with radio. Why radio? Because it's always there. Yes, you could argue that a huge chunk of the population is listening to MP3 players. But radio also has the advantage of immediacy. When was the last time your iPod told you that there's an accident on I-95 that you'll want to avoid?
There's plenty of noise made in the paid media circles about how radio ad buys have declined of late. That's true. But name another advertising medium - other than certain select online ones - where that hasn't happened.
There have also been reports that the radio industry is on shaky ground. That's also true - to an extent; some of the broadcast conglomerates that overleveraged themselves in the '90s and '00s are indeed in the weeds, and satellite radio hasn't exactly been a financial home run.
But there are actually more radio stations in the US today than there were 10 years ago, and that should tell you something. Reports of radio's death are greatly exaggerated.
Radio can't always hone in on specific demographic groups to the same extent as cable TV, but it does afford a fairly broad selection of audience types and interests. Consider all the formats: news stations, news talkers, sports talkers, religious programming and at least eight different major music formats. You can be pretty selective.
Keys to Successful Campaigns
Like any marketing effort, success with radio involves understanding your target market and what would motivate them to try your product or service. You then need to figure out which station format is the best fit, and then buy time when they're tuned in. Selling bubble gum? Your best fit is likely Top 40 or CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio) station - but not when your customer base is in science class.
Some station formats don't lend themselves to listening at the office. News talkers are a good example, because they are both distracting and controversial. But if you sell supplies for a home office, or something aimed at stay-at-home Moms or professional drivers, news talk in the mid-day can offer terrific value. On the other hand, Adult Contemporary ("AC") and Album-Oriented Rock (AOR) stations are often on in the background in workplaces, so mid-day buys on those stations can offer great value and results on a wide range of products and services.
The highest concentration of listeners occurs between 6 am and 10 am ("Morning Drive") and 3 pm to 7 pm ("PM Drive"). Because of the larger audience, these dayparts are more expensive than mid-day or evening slots. Most radio stations offer what's called "ROS" or Run of Station buys, which are typically cheaper than buying specific times, but you run the risk of the bulk of your spots airing at times when fewer people in your target are listening.
The next key is frequency - not of the station, but how often your spots air. Successful radio campaigns require repetition. So how much time should you buy? It rather depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If you have a specific event, promotion or product that you're trying to launch, a good start is five times per day for 8 - 10 days leading in. That's per station, by the way.
If, however, you're simply trying to make people aware of an established product or service you should plan on running about 15 spots per week for about six months - again, per station. You can enhance the creative or change the schedule part way in, and you can even go dark for a week or two each month if money's tight, but you should plan on committing for that long. As we said, radio relies on repetition.
If you just plain can't afford that aggressive a schedule, it's generally more effective to work assertively in a single daypart and add others as you go, rather than dilute your messaging across numerous time slots. If you know your target market is likely to be listening to either AM or PM drive, pick one and hit it as hard as you can. You can add the other later.
Similarly, it's generally better to concentrate a small budget on one or two stations that offer the best demographics for your product or service, and then add more stations as your budget allows. Be careful not to spread yourself too thin, either with stations or timeslots.
A Fog of Numbers
Radio advertising is cutthroat competitive, and the salespeople love to toss around numbers designed to convince you that they offer the best deal. That effort, unfortunately, is sometimes aided by the fact that the numbers they present you with can be downright baffling.
Allow us to simplify: the cost of spots is based on audience size, so let's talk for a moment about how that's measured and what it means for your buy.
Radio station ratings are done by Arbitron. There are two primary measures - the AQH and the Cume. The AQH is the average number of listeners in a quarter hour. Cume is the total number of listeners that listened at any time in that quarter hour - even for only a minute. People, particularly in drive time, don't always lock their radios on one station (whereas workplace stations tend to stay set). We push buttons. Oversimplifying a bit, the Cume represents both the steady listeners and the button pushers.
AQH, by contrast, gives you an idea of the actual size of the audience at any given point in that quarter hour. Sure, there are button pushers included in the AQH, but you have a better idea of how many people are actually listening steadily. As such, AQH is arguably the more valuable.
Many advertising and media buying agencies make recommendations based on Gross Ratings Points, or GRPs. A point is one percent of the audience in a given market. If you're buying 20 spots per week in dayparts with five percent of the market listening, you're buying 100 GRPs. But don't think that means the entire market has heard your spot - far from it.
GRPs don't tell the whole story. True, they indicate the size of the audience that's hearing your spots, but they tell you nothing about that audience or its interests. Buying on the basis of points alone can lead to a serious waste of money.
Let's say that you run an auto parts business that specializes in aftermarket accessories for pickup trucks. Oh, and you're in a college town and the top - ranked station is an alternative rocker.
You could buy the rock station and get a boatload of GRPs (and spend a fair chunk doing so). Or, you could buy considerably FEWER points over on the 6th - ranked station - which happens to have a country format - and be on the air just as much and be much more effective in reaching the people who might actually buy your stuff. And you'll spend less. See the difference?
The Axon team has experience with radio dating back to 1990, and we've learned a few things along the way. Radio isn't the right choice for every company, but it can really help drive sales for a surprising variety of businesses...Skip King, Managing Director, AXON design & marketing