Under the Radar: The Power of Radio and Why it Remains a Great Advertising Vehicle

Reaching out to attract new customers and to continue to service the base you already have is essential to the future of any business. Before I became president of the Tuchman Advisory Group, I worked in radio sales. My husband John is a radio talk-show host on KGO 810AM in San Francisco. Our combined experiences confirm my belief that using radio to spread the word is a critical tool to promoting, expanding and selling the particular product of concern to you. Due to the fact that most drycleaning businesses are locally based there is compelling evidence that the conclusion reached by Cumulus Media that “only radio meets all the requirements for delivering the best results for local advertisers” has great merit.

Radio is with us in our cars, in our kitchens, in our bedrooms and it is our most available vehicle for information. The reach of radio is truly remarkable. Many rely on radio for information, via talk shows, the latest financial updates, sports scores and games, occurring disasters and immediate access to what is currently going on in the world. Knowing who listens to a particular station or radio personality allows advertisers to target an audience, specific demographic, or geographic area in their own communities.

Melissa Gill Galliani, Vice-President of Sales for Cumulus Media in San Francisco is responsible for radio stations KGO 810AM and KSFO 560AM. With over 18 years experience in the broadcast media and digital field one of her duties is to build charitable relationships to benefit the community. Melissa explains why radio is essential in any company’s advertising plan:

Can you give me an example of a recent radio campaign that worked? “My latest favorite quote is from a young media buyer at an expensive auction house: ‘Isn’t it cool how radio is so in vogue again and it works? It just seemed so under the radar!’ This media buyer moved to a different auction house and called me to do another campaign. It was as if she were surprised that radio delivered such high-end customers to her very high-end wine auction. I thought it was very darling and told her, well yes it most certainly does and is!”

Is anybody listening to the radio anymore? “Yes they are! Nationwide 93% of the adult population listens to radio on a weekly basis. It does not seem like it because the other mediums advertise more, giving themselves an image of higher listenership. Creating a successful image is one of the reasons why we tell people to advertise.”

Is listening to the radio still a local favorite? “Radio continues to be relevant to the community, and listeners are passionate about their local stations. It seemed that when Sirius and XM came on the market they took it by storm because of ad-free listening. What really happened was that listeners missed the local information, community news and dates and locations for upcoming events. In 2018 Edison Research Share of Ear® survey (an audio-listening analysis methodology) concluded that 46% of persons 18+ listened to AM/FM radio, 42% listened to ad-free platforms and 12% listened to other ad-supported platforms. People have listening habits. They listen to the radio in their car, work and often at home. They listen for news, information, to hear their favorite music and personalities. They might listen on their mobile device at the gym and their wireless speakers at home on weekends.”

When a company advertises on a radio station, do listeners develop a familiarity with the product or service? “Yes! When a company advertises on the radio consistently, people hearing the ad come to believe they know you. This only works, of course, if you are advertising on a reputable station. When people ‘know you’ through radio advertising, your business stays at the top of mind with high awareness. When your business-development team or route driver is making sales calls trying to drum up business by starting new relationships, it is a lot easier for them to break through the gatekeeper and get an appointment if the potential customer is already familiar with your business through radio advertising.”

Is brand-awareness important in radio advertising? “If you want to grow your business, your product or service needs to be known of before the customer needs it. That is a statement that we use often at Cumulus. ‘Unaided awareness dramatically increases purchase intent. Broad targeting means high sales and profits,’ says a Nielsen Auto Path-to-Purchase Study. Erwin Ephron, the father of modern media-planning, states, ‘Most advertising usually works by reminding people about brands they know right when they happen to need that product. Ads work best when the consumer is ready to buy. Reminding a lot of consumers is better than lecturing a few.’ Brand building creates long-term growth and profit.”

Is there anything else you would like to emphasize? “Radio reaches local consumers and business decision makers. It is easy and affordable and it works effectively with other mediums. Members of the Cumulus Sales Staff are taught ‘Eight Characteristics of the Best-Performing Local Advertising.’ Radio has all eight! Radio allows you to:

1. Reach Your Potential Customers

2. Influence Close to Point Of Purchase

3. Provide Local Consumer Interactions

4. Create Emotional Connections

5. Build Trust and Credibility

6. Provide Un-Skippable Engagement

7. Be Cost-Effective

8. Deliver Affordable Ads Quickly

Additionally, in an article in Radio Results entitled “Benefits of Radio Advertising,” Sue Hetherington offers what she defines as the “10 Golden Benefits of Radio Advertising:”

1) Radio reaches a huge audience.

2) Radio is targeted.

3) Radio cuts through.

4) Radio is the anywhere, anytime medium.

5) Radio is the pulse of the community.

6) Radio offers promotional opportunities.

7) Radio is influential.

8) Radio reaches your targeted customers with frequency.

9) Radio is flexible and immediate.

10) Radio provides a strong call to action.

The best way to get started with an advertising campaign is to identify the station or stations you would want to consider. Local radio salespeople will provide you with the data that you need to make a decision on an advertising campaign. Radio advertising remains one of the most affordable vehicles to reach into the broader market and you will know within a relatively short period of time of your ad’s effectiveness.

Retaining the use of a popular local radio or community personality to be the voice of your campaign will lend immediate credibility. Perhaps that personality already uses your services? The tag line “I trust them so much I use them myself” might be convincing. All of these conclusions offer compelling reasons why the use of radio is such an effective vehicle in local markets. As summer ends and fall and winter approach, now is the time to get the word out in an effective, cost-efficient radio advertising campaign!

About Ellen Tuchman Rothmann

Ellen Rothmann has 30 years of experience in sales and marketing and utilizes these skills to support and facilitate seminars for Tuchman Advisory Group (TAG). Prior to her role with TAG, she was VP of Operations for Richard Wolffer’s Auctions that specialized in sports and entertainment memorabilia. As an Account Manager for K101 – a San Francisco Bay Area radio station – she worked with small businesses to build unique and profitable advertising and promotional campaigns for her clients. Growing up in the dry cleaning business, Ellen worked in numerous capacities at Tuchman Cleaners. She also held sales positions at Apparelmaster and Tuchman Cleaner’s Home Carpet and Drapery businesses. Rothmann earned her B.A. in Marketing from Indiana University. She lives in San Francisco with her husband John, they have two sons For more information contact Ellen Tuchman Rothmann, President, Tuchman Advisory Group. e-mail: ellenrothmann@yahoo.com