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Wayne Ens

Go Native On Radio


Im really tired of us radio types letting the digital folks redefine the advertising landscape to suit their terms and platforms. I know its a little like swimming upstream to put the shiny new media in their place, and they certainly do have a place, but theyre not the be all and end all.

One example is our online and digital friends hype around the power of much-touted native advertising.

Wikipedia, one of the digital offenders to whom I refer, says, Native advertising is an online method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the users experience. The advertisers intent is to make paid advertising feel less intrusive.

Thats simply not true. Native advertising is not limited to online media and were guilty of not correcting that error.

Native advertising was utilized long before the arrival of the Internet. Newspapers and magazines, for example, called it advertorials and attempted to make the format, feel, design, and content of a paid ad fit the editorial style and content of the publication.

Native advertising is not limited to online. Rather it is the integration of marketing content in any media in such a way that it is not distinctly different from the rest of a mediums content in terms of format, style, or placement.

Radio has a long list of under-utilized native marketing opportunities, and its time we stood up and told the world so.and charged for it accordingly.

When a marketer samples her product or service via giveaways in radio contests, for example, thats native advertising. The announcer generally elaborates on the merits of the product being given away on-air as part of the stations content or format.

In many instances the product is included in numerous station promos and live on-air contests that dovetail naturally with what the stations audience tuned in for -- fun, contests and entertainment -- rather than interrupting the stations programming.

When a station is giving away Coke instead of Pepsi, for example, in the listeners mind Coke is the preferred beverage of their favorite station. Thats the equivalent to a friends like in geek speak.

Even simple on-air sponsorships, where the advertiser takes credit for presenting valued station content like weather or traffic, is native advertising. It does not interrupt the content; it presents the content seamlessly as a service to the audience.

When an announcer ad-libs or in some cases does a clever live read, that too can be native content in the minds of radio listeners.

Of course, when we air slick produced spots, with music that does not fit our format, thats not native advertising.

Traditionally, some of the most effective ad formats have been those that match the form and function of the medium. Everything from prizing on TV game shows, to infomercials and print advertorials have proven to be effective in influencing sales.

Its time for radio to show advertisers how to go native on radio, and charge a premium for it because it does fit the format and the listener experience.

Everything from sampling at our remotes, to paid on-air personality endorsements and advertiser appearances on our talk shows, are worthy of premium rates.

So come on guys and gals, its time to quit succumbing to the clever twisting of advertising terms by the online whiz kids, and start showing our clients how to go native on radio!

Contact to receive your free weekly 60-second radio sales management tip.

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