"Half of my advertising budget is wasted," said John Wanamaker. "The problem is, I don't know which half."
We have found that advertising dollars are almost always wasted in fits and starts, by 'spraying, paying, and praying,' or, as we like to say, by trying to convince 100% of the people 10% of the way. It happens all the time, it happens increasingly as media choices expand, it has happened to us, and it has happened to our clients. Pain is an excellent teacher. When we advocate radio as the centerpiece of a clients' marketing arsenal, it is because we have internalized thousands of case histories and have learned:
Radio is an intimate selling tool and is NOT best used as "last point of reference" advertising, like the yellow pages, or Google. What radio still does more affordably and arguably better than any medium on the planet is help consumers want to do business with you before the moment they buy. Proper use of radio, in turn, buffers you against the incessant upsells and price-hikes of last-point-of-reference media. As you approach market or category dominance (if you have not already,) you are likely to find that this is radio's most rewarding asset.
Radio can do everything other media can do, and can often do it better: sell a product, paint a memorable and persuasive picture, brand a business, (which is to say, associate your business with memories and fantasies,) create and reinforce a position, drive direct response, ignite the imagination, and create durable impressions, so today's advertising dollar works tomorrow, too. When used properly, radio's flexibility and affordability allow you to achieve these critical marketing objectives in a sustained, focused, thrifty and accountable manner.
Moreover, through a phenomenon we "discovered," or at least were the first to name and study - recall potentiation - radio advertising becomes more and more effective over time, effectively compounding your investment.
Radio gets results. It has been under-utilized by agencies for decades. It is also often employed in all the improper ways described above. But because of its subsequent affordability, it has never been a more valuable, and therefore powerful, marketing tool.