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November 23, 2014

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10/07/02 I’ve Seen The enemy — And We’re It

“Radio Doesn’t Work.” These are the most feared words that any Radio salesperson can hear. Regrettably, they’re usually true. The advertiser didn’t say this to “beat you up” or negotiate better rates. No, they tried Radio, and it really didn’t work for them.

It took a long time for you to convince the advertiser to try Radio. Finally, after months of your chipping away, they caved in and said, “OK, we’ll test the waters.” You got a small order and a reel with a spot on it. They said, “If this pays off, we’ll spend more next time.” You rushed that order into your sales manager’s office, shouting gleefully, “I got ’em! I finally got ’em on the air after all these months, and they said that soon they’re going to start spending big bucks!” The sales manager’s response was supportive and encouraging: “Great going! I knew you could sell ‘em. Now, go get that order in to traffic.”

After looking at the order and hearing the spot, what the sales manager should have said was: “I really appreciate all you’ve put into this, but if we accept the order, we’ll never see another one from this client. Not only did they not buy enough frequency to get results, the ad was written by someone trained to write for the newspaper, not for Radio. Set up a meeting with the client, and we’ll figure out how to make the campaign successful.”

Most advertisers don’t know how to write Radio copy. Unfortunately, few people in Radio know, either. Dick Orkin of the Radio Ranch in L.A. believes this to be Radio’s biggest problem. He says that advertisers declare, “Keep it safe, keep it conservative, and just tell 'em what I want you to tell em.” It’s Radio's willingness to play by those rules that is responsible for the mediocre, safe, conservative, cloned-sounding ads that flood our airwaves today; and it’s a trend accelerated by the AE's need to make quota at any cost.

Radio has a tendency to blame the advertiser, but the real blame is our own. If an advertiser really doesn’t know any better, then it’s our job to look them in the eye and say, “This ad won’t work.”

Local advertisers think Radio ads are about making announcements and providing information. Depressingly, many Radio people think that, too. If Radio wants to take a bigger bite of total ad budgets, however, we must crawl from the slime of mediocre advertising and produce the kinds of ads that make people talk.

Haven’t you noticed that it’s the advertisers with the guts to get creative that are the ones getting phenomenal results with Radio?

Radio is churning salespeople at a record rate because it takes more than a week of “orientation” to teach people how to sell Radio and make it work. To fill this need, Radio Ink is bringing you a series of powerful articles on "Making Radio Work." I’ve asked Dick Orkin to share his best advice, and I’ve asked Roy Williams to create an audio CD featuring writing tips and powerful ads gathered from around the nation.

You’ll find Dick Orkin’s first feature in this issue. To get the free CD, e-mail your name and address to tammy@WizardAcademy.com or call 800-425-4769.

Please accept these as our gifts to you.


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