Top Ten Ways Clients Waste Money On Radio Advertising

  • TOP TEN WAYS CLIENTS WASTE MONEY ON RADIO ADVERTISING

    All of us who sell radio advertising need to be aware of the ways a client can foil our best efforts to help them. Here are the top ten ways clients can cause even a powerful medium like radio to fail. Feel free to print this and show it to clients, should the opportunity arise...

     

    1. DON’T PLAN AHEAD
    Too many advertisers buy radio as a spur-of-the-moment decision, with no research, no planning, no long-term branding considered.  Successful advertisers know they need to establish clear, measurable, well thought-out goals and objectives, and a plan to accomplish them, before running a single ad.

     

    2. BUY THE CHEAPEST STATION IN TOWN
    Buying anything from the cheapest supplier is almost never a good thing.  There’s a reason why they’re cheaper.  In the radio business, it’s because they are less effective for their clients.  If they were more effective, they could charge more.  Successful advertisers know they cannot compromise the success of their business by choosing a supplier that doesn’t meet their needs, just to save money.

     

    3. BUY THE WRONG AUDIENCE
    Many advertisers can’t separate their own programming tastes from the decisions they make about reaching their customers.  They hate your morning show, so they won’t buy your station.  Successful advertisers know that advertising is like fishing - you have to put a worm on your hook.   That doesn’t mean you have to LIKE the worm...

     

    4. DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE MESSAGE
    Too many advertisers think the most important decisions are: which advertising medium to buy? which radio station to buy? what should the budget be?  what schedule to run?  They are wrong.  Successful advertisers know it is ALL about the message.  If it isn’t unique, inspiring, memorable, motivating, etc., it won’t matter how many times you run it, or where you run it, or how much you’ve paid to run it.  It still won’t work.

     

    5. HAVE UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
    Too many advertisers expect instant results from radio and are too quick to give up when that doesn’t occur.  Many factors influence how quickly their radio investment will pay off, including the ‘customer buying cycle’ of their industry - once a week, or once every 5 years, etc.  Successful advertisers know marketing is like commiting to a successful fitness program - you don’t go from flab to fabulous in a month.  That is, assuming you want to maintain your profit margin.  If you’re willing to ‘cheat’ and lower your prices (big discounts, Groupon, whatever) you can have quicker results, but there’s a big price to pay.  That strategy is like taking steroids at the gym - they can speed up your fitness timetable, but again there’s a big price to pay.

     

    6. WRITE YOUR OWN ADS
    Many advertisers feel they have to get involved in the creative process to the point that they override the advice of those who do this for a living.  Writers and producers with years of experience are ignored in favor of the opinion of a client who’s never written a commercial in their life.  Successful advertisers know that creating effective radio commercials is an art and a science, and they find people with the talent and experience to do it well.

     

    7. BUY SHORT-TERM CONTRACTS
    Too many advertisers buy radio to support what will already be their busy season, or they advertise in flights, with large gaps where they are off the air.  As has been said before, the enemy of effective advertising is sleep.  As the days pass without hearing their message, and their competitor continues to advertise, people forget.  Successful advertisers know marketing is like a successful marriage - if you only tell your spouse you love them when you WANT something, it doesn’t work as well as if you tell them every day.

     

    8. RUN CLUTTERED COMMERCIALS
    When it comes to copy, far too many advertisers try to put the proverbial ten pounds of sh*t in a 5 pound bag.  They want the station to fill their 30 seconds, or even worse 60 seconds, with enough verbal onslaught to turn off any listener.  Successful advertisers know it’s not about how many bullet points you cram into the commercial, it’s about the FEELING it creates, and the ONE compelling idea they want you to really remember.  Just like in print, white space sells.

     

    9. TRY TO DO TOO MUCH WITH A SMALL BUDGET
    Too many advertisers come to radio with very limited funds, trying to achieve goals which are unattainable.  They have a budget which would be effective if spread over two weeks, but they want it to last three months.  Or they have enough to buy one station effectively, but they try and spread it over four stations.  Successful advertisers know they have to make an impact, no matter the budget.  They tighten the schedule, shorten the campaign, pick one station for now.  A commercial heard on average once a month might as well be invisible.

     

    10. DON’T HAVE A CONSISTENT ‘THEME’
    Too many advertisers run radio commercials which are not built around a central, ongoing theme.  Many don’t even have a slogan.  Beyond normal copy changes, they also want to change the music, change the announcer, change the style, etc. - all in an effort to keep it ‘fresh’.  Unfortunately this makes it harder for people to recognize their brand and to recall hearing their messages.  Successful advertisers never run a commercial that is not part of a long-term ‘campaign’.  They employ an ‘audio logo’ in the same way as a print logo, to build long-term ‘equity’ in their brand.  Whether it’s a unique sound effect, a continuing character voice, an exclusive piece of production music, or a full-blown custom jingle package, there needs to be a consistent sound that’s in every commercial, on every station, every time.  
           
    That's where we come in...
           
    Thanks for reading.  Your comments are most welcome.
          
    Geoff
           
          
    Geoff Bate
    Imagine Words and Music Inc.
19 comments
  • Geoff Bate
    Geoff Bate Thanks for your comments Jane.  And good for you for always choosing the path which is best for your client.  The only way your station will be successful is if your clients are successful.
    September 13, 2011
  • Geoff Bate
    Geoff Bate Thanks for your kind words Micheal.  I'm glad I could be of assistance.  Feel free to share them with your clients too!  
    November 21, 2011
  • Dave Warawa
    Dave Warawa Great post, Geoff. As Salespeople, we have all accepted business with an uneasy feeling toward one or more of your points. I love your idea of discussing this with your clients prior to a campaign. Insert it into your proposal and tell the client that...  more
    March 22, 2015
  • Geoff Bate
    Geoff Bate Thanks for the thumbs-up Dave.  Sometimes the most powerful selling tool we have is to walk away in the short-term, in order to guarantee results in the long-term.  If the client doesn't see results, they won't be back.  We have to create the...  more
    March 23, 2015