June 2007 - Channel Crossing: Radio

Adding Per Inquiry Radio to Your TV Campaign

By Bill Sullivan

Advertisers across the country are running highly successful long-form and short-form DRTV campaigns. Many try unsuccessfully to duplicate their TV success with DR radio campaigns, but fail mainly because they lack the special radio production and media buying know-how required. I have invested a huge amount of time and money studying DR radio advertising and have found that per inquiry radio (PIR) minimizes your risk and increases your chance of success dramatically. PIR, i.e., pay per performance, means when a station or network plays your spot, you only pay when a listener responds to it. PIR is the answer for most DR radio advertisers, large and small.

Once TV advertisers recognize the business-building strength of properly produced PIR, most want it. After all, paying for radio advertising only when it generates a response is a really good deal. Some TV clients only want per inquiry TV, until I demonstrate that you also can do it on radio if you know how-then they see its value as another profit-making generator with little or no risk.

Some DRTV advertisers want “per order” radio, in which they pay only when their spot produces an order or a sale.

Although this works for some advertisers, for most, it lowers their chances for success. Our experience has proven that lead generation is the most effective way to use PIR. To promote sales instead of leads, DRTV uses a certain hard-sell style that shouts, “Price, price, price!” and “Buy now!” That is not easy to translate effectively to radio. DRTV advertisers that use lead-generation offers benefit greatly. Lead-generation radio spots simply educate the listener and offer something free to get them to call in with their name, phone number and address. That type of spot doesn’t try to close a sale on the air.

Skilled telemarketers can convert many callers into buyers on the inbound call. If not, the information sent may close the sale for you. If that doesn’t work, there is also outbound telemarketing. But mostly, smart DR radio advertisers build long-term customer relationships with loyal radio listeners using special offers that can result in numerous sales rather than quick, one-time purchases.

During my extensive research, I tracked down some of the best PIR people across the country and built strategic partnerships with them. In effect, I now have a huge, national network of PIR professionals for my clients rather than just one specialist with limited PIR radio deals. The advantage is that it gives clients access to the best PIR stations and networks. What’s more, the direct response community-including ad agencies and media buying services-will be pleasantly surprised at this list of large and small clients and how much time is placed for them.

With PIR, the radio agency doesn’t buy any time, nor does its clients. The agency places the time for them, and they pay only after they get an inquiry or make a sale.

So, if you do DRTV, you can extend your marketing, selling and business-building strength by adding PIR to your TV campaign. To be assured of successful PIR campaigns, get expert help.

Bill Sullivan is president of William Sullivan Advertising, a full-service agency that specializes in direct response radio and TV. He can be reached at (973) 379-8555, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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