Underselling Radio

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In an earlier post, we talked about the fact that your Radio clients don’t require everyone to respond to their ad message; it is necessary only for enough people to react to the ad to produce a return on investment for the advertiser.

Unfortunately, most Radio sales reps can’t or won’t convince the advertiser to air a large enough schedule to obtain truly remarkable results. This underselling of Radio hurts the advertiser, your station, and Radio as an industry.

Many years ago, a very sharp sales rep I worked with — we’ll call him “Jerry” — taught me how to turn down an order.

Turn down an order?!?

The client wanted to air a schedule of 25 ads for the week on our station. While the schedule would have added around a thousand dollars to Jerry’s sales total for the month, Jerry just shook his head.

“I can’t accept this,” he told the client. “Because when it doesn’t work, you’ll blame me.”

Jerry then proceeded to explain to the advertiser how Radio really works, and how in order to be truly successful, the client should be airing 25 ads a day. When the advertiser replied he had never heard of such a thing, Jerry said: “It’s because they’re afraid to tell you.”

For Radio to work–to truly blow the doors off–three things are required:

  1. A good product or service at a good price (customers aren’t stupid);
  2. A compelling message that breaks through the ad clutter (notice, I did not say a louder message — screaming only insults the customer), and;
  3. Sufficient frequency to ensure the audience hears the message.

We’re not talking a “frequency of three”…we’re talking a frequency of 20, 30, 40 impressions in a week.

We’re talking using the power of Radio to dominate a station or group of stations. This requires what used to be called a “newspaper-sized” budget. A full-page ad in the newspaper doesn’t dominate anything. But take the budget for that full-sized ad and place it on one station for the week and the advertiser will own that station.

Jerry’s client was convinced — he ended up buying two ads per hour every hour for a week — and had the best week in his history. All because one Radio professional was willing to tell a client the truth.

It’s time to stop underselling Radio. In the current economic conditions, including the rapid decline of newspaper, it makes more sense than ever before for Radio to step up and claim its unfair share of the ad pie.