January 2007 - Radio Dial

How to Apply DR Radio Principles to Your Retail Campaign

By Joe Rashbaum

Radio has been the backbone of retail support and product launches practically since the days of Marconi. The reason is obvious-it is the medium that you are closest to when at the store making your purchase. And to their credit, traditional buying agencies do have their formulas for success that combine CPPs, GRPs, etc. However, when you apply key direct response radio buying techniques to your retail-driving or new product launch campaigns, results can not only increase, but also be more quantifiable.

First off, many traditional retail advertisers buy schedules that are heavier on reach, as opposed to frequency. They might likely buy five spots each in mornings, middays and afternoons. They also tend to place a strong emphasis on Morning Drive, since that is where the monster audience numbers exist on many stations. While this can work for some, it goes against the traditional DR radio-buying model.

Morning Drive radio can have a strong impact on an advertiser’s business or response, but it is also good to stay away from for two reasons: 1) it is often a pricier daypart; and 2) when’s the last time you whipped out a credit card before 9 a.m.? Morning Drive is the time of day when listeners are thinking about getting the kids to school, fighting traffic and the workday ahead. Most listeners are not likely to pull off the road to head to a retail store or respond to an offer at that time. Conversely, that is why DR people tend to buy middays and Afternoon Drive more often (and sometimes nights and weekends due to lower cost).

When buying those other dayparts-especially Afternoon Drive, which is when the vast majority of listeners will be most apt to check out a retail offer-the key is to buy based on frequency. Buying three or four spots per day, which assures you’ll run at least once per hour, is the prime method of assuring your spots will be heard with enough frequency for the listener to retain your message. (As a rule, a minimum frequency of 3.5 is best to assure response from a radio listener).

Buying radio with a direct response mentality also can lead to another key benefit for your retail campaign-it’s quantifiable! You do not always need to have a toll-free phone number or website in the spot to determine results. Radio, more than any other medium, has resources for added value to your campaign that allow you to measure the impact on an audience. Most radio stations heavily promote their websites, which often feature audio streaming and podcasting. If you negotiate an added value with their website, you can determine click-throughs and/or downloads that result from the campaign.

By negotiating added value, combined with a high frequency schedule at a time that listeners actually want to make a purchase, your retail campaign can have the same edge that direct response advertisers enjoy.

Joe Rashbaum is president of The Radio Solution Company, a radio direct response agency and consulting firm that oversees creative and media for both short- and long-form radio campaigns. He can be reached at (856) 797-5715, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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