Specifics of Advertising on the Radio

Visiting the local Radio House the other day got me into thinking about radio as a marketing means.

As the managing director stated: radio is alive and kicking. Among the  reasons he named were: firstly, the radio can be used in the background of other activities, such as daily morning routines (morning is prime-time in the radio business). Secondly, real-time shows allow for instant news updates (DJs were constantly monitoring the news situation while moderating the show). And finally  the local nature of the radio is attractive for most clients (despite the unlimited number of Internet radio channels, the majority of radio listeners stick to the local providers).  Recent research even shows a growing number of younger people listening to the radio.

Thus, radio seems to be still a factor in media planing. First of all, radio is great for locally offered products or services. Secondly, radio offers a better reach  in comparison to the Internet or the local newspaper. The format of the radio (repeating of information, background flow of information) has the potential to increase the share of mind of any brand significantly.

However, I am still not convinced that radio advertising can be used successfully for any given product. For example, for a specific, niche product, the radio advertising unfortunately causes massive coverage waste, that is the relative conversion cost is rising.

A complex product or service has to be marketed through two-stage communication model: a user is forwarded to a landing page or another source of information by the radio commercial, which again may cause distortions/interruptions  in the communication process.

Another interesting finding was that advertising alone  is often not enough, it has to be coupled with promotion, e.g. extra benefits/ discounts/special offers in order to attract the customers.  In this case the question rises if the customer has been attracted by the discount or by way the product/ service has been positioned in the radio commercial.

What is more, the product or service and the brand itself  has to fit into the format of the radio channel/ radio program where it is advertised.

All in all, the goal of a marketer in doing radio advertising  should be looking for ways to build up a share of heart in addition the share of mind.

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