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Managing Expectations

8-28-2013

Your local-direct advertisers know they cant pay their mortgage with Facebook "likes" and they cant send their kids to college with page views. They can only achieve their goals with sales.

Yet they are delighted with responses or likes on the Internet while they demand that their cash registers ring when they invest in radio campaigns.

Why? In part, because over-zealous radio sellers create unrealistic expectations and in part because of simple math. The simple math is: low investment = low expectation; high investment = high expectation.

Along with low investment comes a willingness to take more risks with the message; risks that can result in more effective messages than so-called call-to-action commercials.

Last week, I met a local hardware store owner who was amazed with her responses on social media. She said her Facebook likes jumped from 6,000 to 18,000 with one simple post. The social media "gurus" would promote this response as "going viral" and claim a 300 percent increase.

During the early August heat wave, the store owner heard all of the publicity about people leaving their dogs in their cars. She simply posted a "dogs welcome" sign on the front door of her store, took a picture of it, and posted it on her Facebook page, inviting shoppers to take mans best friend out of the heat.

Think about this "amazing" response. The appeal was emotional. It cost the advertiser nothing. It had no call-to-action and didnt try to sell anything. And it won the hearts of dog lovers.

More importantly, it cost the Facebook friends nothing to share it and respond. Its easy to get a response when youre not asking consumers to open their wallets today.

There is no denying the Internet has changed the way consumers buy and the way sellers sell. In the pre-Internet world, many marketers practiced the ABC of selling: Always Be Closingcome in today, these savings wont last. And broadcasters got sucked into the old ABC trap with their commercials.

Marketers have learned that the ABC of selling today is Always Be Connecting, and the "dogs welcome" message certainly connected emotionally with pet owners.

I doubt the message would have gone viral had that store owner posted a one-day special on paint on her Facebook page.

As we continued our conversation, I asked the hardware store owner, Can you imagine the impact had you told that same story to 100,000 or more radio listeners in addition to 6,000 Facebook friends? And how your commercial would have stood out amidst all of the other "buy today" messages on the air? She said Wow, I never thought of not asking for the sale in my paid ads.

Broadcasters are just as guilty of embracing so-called "earned media" versus paid media as my hardware store friend. We hail it as a success when we capture a few followers on free social media, but question our investment when no one has ever said, Boy I love that billboard you paid for.

In our eagerness to make the sale, many local broadcast salespeople have created unrealistic expectations, promising immediate results to clients rather than positioning the power of branding to Always Be Connecting.

And its those unrealistic expectations which cause advertiser dissatisfaction and high account attrition rates.

Advertisers who are happy winning hearts online can be even happier with their paid campaigns if we persuade them that we can win hearts and win wallets by combining powerful branding messages with a call to action.

Its time to train your account executives about the power of branding at the local level.

Local marketers have a distinct branding advantage over larger national companies, and local broadcasters can exploit that advantage.

Local businesses can move quickly in response to local situations, like a local heat wave. Large national marketers cannot move that quickly, nor would the "dogs welcome" message resonate in some of their markets which might not be experiencing the heat wave.

There is no better way to Always Be Connecting than with heartfelt stories delivered by a human voice. Add to that the inspiring emotional impact of music and the other tools available to broadcasters, and radio can quickly become the fuel that drives an advertisers total media mix.

Wayne Ens, wayne@wensmedia.com,  is president of ENS Media Inc. ENS Medias "Winning in the New Media Economy" seminars persuade local advertisers to reduce their print advertising in favour of a new media mix with a strong radio component.




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