3 Lessons from Successful Radio Advertisers

Updated: May 2, 2019

Taking a page out of another businesses playbook is not new to the world of business, and Calgary businesses shouldn’t shy away from it when developing their advertising strategy. I heard a story recently about Wendy’s Restaurants. When building their marketing strategy they knew that a large portion of their success would be built on the location of their restaurants. To analyze the locations that provided the strongest potential for profitability, Wendy’s not only went to their real estate firm, they also observed McDonalds. The McDonalds Corporation is known for owning some of the most sought after parcels of real estate around the world, and is known to invest in real estate specifically for its profitability. Wendy’s also new this about McDonalds, and began to purchase real estate and build restaurants within a couple of blocks of as many McDonalds restaurants as possible. The result was the growth and profitability of the Wendy’s brand.


The same strategy can also be used by local Calgary businesses looking to utilize radio advertising. Here are 3 lessons you can take from some of those advertisers you always seem to hear on the radio.


1. Don’t Chicken Out

Every radio campaign and first time advertiser goes through the “Chickening Out Period”. Roy H. Williams of The Wizard of Ads (link) has determined this period to be somewhere within the first 8 – 14 weeks of the campaign. Launching a radio advertising campaign isn’t like turning on a light switch; and though most advertisers do understand that it will take time to build, cold feet can happen. The companies you seem to always hear on the radio also went through the chickening out period.

To make the chickening out period less of a factor, take the time with your radio consultant to focus on building a campaign focused on your target customer, that connects with them, and is true to your business.


2. Align your Advertising with your Product Buying Cycle

Your product buying cycle is how often a potential customer purchases your product, and it directly impacts the structure of your radio advertising campaign. If you own a grocery store you can predict that your customer will visit your store about once a week, giving you a one-week product buying cycle. If you own a window & door renovation company in Calgary, your product buying cycle will be much wider. The average Calgary home will need some form of new windows or doors every 10 – 20 years giving you an average 15-year product buying cycle.


Understanding your product buying cycle, determines how to structure your radio campaign, as well as how to measure your results. The wider the buying cycle the longer you will need to be prepared to commit in order to see the full potential of your advertising investment. If your product buying cycle is two years, you can expect moderate results within the first 6 months. As you maintain your campaign, more and more of your target audience will enter the product buying cycle for your product.

A great example of aligning product-buying cycle with advertising is Spence Diamonds. How often do you plan to buy and engagement ring? Understandably, Spence Diamonds has a very wide product buying cycle, diamonds simply are not an everyday purchase. Any frequent listener of radio will not be able to tell you the last time they did not hear a Spence Diamonds ad. Understanding this, Spence committed to a long term strategy seeking to reach their target customer before they were in the market for a diamond, while connecting and building value in their brand.


3. Target the Right Audience

This my seem like it comes without saying, but targeting the right audience is one of the main keys to success for local radio advertisers. Targeting is more than finding a radio station that has an audience in line with the demographics of your customer. Through your radio consultant you have the ability to dig deeper within that audience through Return-to-Sample market research conducted by Numeris (link). This data will allow you to learn about an audiences actions and buying intentions within your industry. You can learn about their lifestyle, and their life-stage to help target more accurately.

Targeting is also deeper than the radio station, or the audience, it most importantly relies upon the message. Targeting your potential customer effectively comes from creating messaging that connects with them, connects to their lives, gives them a reason to remember you, and then repeating that message and building upon your story.



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