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Radio Chain of Effectiveness - by Norton Warner

    • 1402 posts
    October 22, 2020 11:43 PM PDT

    Every link must be strong and properly executed.

    From the book by Norton E. Warner:

    "David Can Still Beat Goliath; Radio Advertising is David's Slingshot"

    The Radio Chain of Effectiveness demonstrates the elements needed to make radio effective for your clients. Let’s take a look at each link:

    You must know your customer psychographically (lifestyle) or demographically (age).

    The term psychographic refers to attitudes that govern one's lifestyle, while demographic information includes age, gender, ethnicity, and other "vital statistics." Psychographic information is generally the better guide to choosing a radio station. People don't always "act their age."

    What's inside the head of a listener—not age, appearances, or physical characteristics—determines that person's radio station preference. Thus, your odds for selecting the right radio station are better if psychographic information is your primary criterion.

    All "sets of ears" are not equal at the cash register.

    An advertiser said to me, "I'd rather have one adult home-maker than a hundred teenagers only interested in today's music." He understood that all "sets of ears" are not equal at the cash register.

    Don't be misled when a radio station boasts about its listener numbers, ranking or "we're number 1." Such numbers, often based on age alone, may not represent the most profitable audience for your enterprise. Knowledgeable ad buyers realize that overall rankings and total 24/7 listener numbers are deceptive. If in a rated market, the 4th, 5th, or 6th station may be more profitable than the #1 station. The radio industry and its advertisers are moving toward targeting audiences by lifestyle as the most-profitable-customer profile.

    You must reach the station's total listenership with frequency on any size budget.

    Frequency is the number of times each listener in a station's total audience has heard your message. Planned Fixed Positioning (PFP) assures the advertiser of maximum frequency on a station's total audience with any size budget. To put the selling odds in your favor, your radio "sales calls" (on-air ads) must reach a station's total audience. There might be 50,000 different people listening 24/7. Audience size is irrelevant if you don't make regular and consistent "sales calls" on each of those 50,000 listeners.

    Consistency assures both reach and frequency

    To achieve frequency, your advertising campaign must consistently make sales calls on the same target audience or radio station. Consistency begins with choosing a radio station that reaches your target audience. Then "calling on" that station's audience until you make the needed impact and create a preference or trust for your business. When you jump from radio station to radio station, or from medium to medium, you may reach different prospects but without the consistency required for frequency.

    The Message Is Everything

    Many times, I have heard institutional or category ads filled with advertising clichés but no substantial information that might attract a new customer. I've known radio sales reps to call on a client, sell a promotion or an event, turn to leave, stop, and say, "By the way, what do you want to say in your ad?" The client may reply, "Oh, just put something together from the yellow pages." It's no wonder radio advertising becomes suspect. You might be interested in Chapter VI, "The Campaign and The Message is Everything."

    Delivery and production should enhance the message.

    Some of the most effective  radio ads generating the strongest response have been straight talk, warmly, personally convincingly delivered with powerful and compelling reasons to buy. Your client's ads should be delivered persuasively, enthusiastically, and sincerely.

    Advertisers frequently wonder whether they should use jingles or instrumental music with their ads. It's mostly a personal preference. A jingle should be short. Its purpose may be to establish client identification. If music, it should not interfere or distract from the compelling reasons to buy.

    Advertising expectations and performance must match.

    When advertiser expectations and radio's performance don't match, you might "break the radio chain of effectiveness." The advertiser will cancel radio advertising before it has time to work. When advertisers cancel, expectation mismatch is nearly always the reason.

    When sales reps overpromise and underdeliver, they sabotage their own success. Radio may have done its job, and done it well, but if clients expect instant, dramatic results that don't materialize, radio is perceived to have failed.*

    *If your station is a member of the Warner Concept System, you have access to an 11-minute video, "Expectations." This will assure proper advertiser expectations.


    The Warner family has owned 15 stations in six markets in the Midwest for 40 years. Norton has also worked with Mr. Jerrell Shepherd and his small markets in Missouri since 1968. His son, Dave Shepherd, helped develop the Warner Concept System videos, 3 min.-12 min. in length. These videos build a client belief in radio that leads to 80%-100% of an advertiser's budget.

    FREE Offer: Receive Chapter 1 of "David Can Still Beat Goliath; Radio Advertising is David's Slingshot" delivered to your e-mail box – Free. Go to: