November 26, 2015

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11/20/06 Radio’s Obsession With Newspapers

What if someone told you that you should stop using your computer, and instead switch to hand writing letters again? Is there anything that would make you give up your computer? What if that person told you writing letters is less expensive? Or that more people will read letters than e-mail? Would you be convinced? Why, then, is radio doing the same thing? Why are we trying to tell advertisers who are happy with newspapers that they should drop print and use radio?

Recent reports about the decline of newspaper circulation are a good reminder that the newspaper chase may not be the best use of our time. Yes, we need to be there to catch the crumbs that fall, but advertisers are not bailing out over circulation, they are just renegotiating. As long as newspapers bring customers, it is counterintuitive to tell them they are stupid for using it. Old habits die hard.

We know how powerful radio can be, and we know we can do a great job for our clients, but our passion sometimes keeps us from thinking clearly. Of course visuals are important to many retailers. Trying to tell them visuals are not important is insulting, and makes us appear out of touch with reality.

Newsflash. Using one media alone is not the best way to market a product. Using a media mix is the best way to market a product. We in radio must change our thinking: Our best growth prospect will come from convincing advertisers that radio is the great enhancement medium. We need to help them understand that we’re really great at reminding people what they saw in print or television, great at reaching people in places where they spend a great deal of time, and that a small investment in radio will increase the results of their other media plans. Since radio is effective at reinforcing campaigns, this is an excellent foot in the door.

Yes, I do know that radio is powerful as a stand-alone medium, especially with some products. I handle marketing for a friend, and have made his phone ring off the wall and filled up his appointment calendar for six months by using radio on a single station with five spots a day. But radio won’t work for all advertisers. Even if it did, it takes a bold advertiser to give us a try as their only media.

If you’re telling clients that their current advertising decisions are wrong, please stop. You are a representative of the radio industry, and we don’t need them thinking we’re fools. Instead, ask clients if you could show them research indicating how adding radio to their media mix will increase their results dramatically. Focusing on media mix is a lot more powerful than telling your advertisers they are stupid for using newspapers.

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