July 2006 - Radio Dial

Event Radio Advertising

By Bill Sullivan

I welcome this opportunity to share with Electronic Retailer readers what I’ve learned over the years about event radio advertising.

My experience includes production of radio campaigns for many types of seminars, lectures, demonstrations and auctions for a wide variety of products-from pianos, hair restoration surgery, financial services and dietary supplements. While each project requires relatively different strategies, there is one general rule that applies to all event radio advertising. Simply put, I’ve learned that selling events on the radio demands very sophisticated radio communications know-how. Here are a few highlights of that know-how.

The right product. Not all products benefit from special events. To be sure, small-scale realistic testing should precede any full-scale event marketing program.

The right offer. Regardless of the product’s worthiness, you need a dynamite offer to drive responses to your advertising, starting with the right product price.

The right message. Listeners want hard and fast reasons why it will benefit them to attend your event. This requires useful, straightforward information delivered by believable voice talent, not sales pitches.

Ample lead time. More than most marketing programs, an event is a major investment and its radio campaign is extremely time sensitive. To ensure adequate return on the cost of an event, the radio spots need extra airing to generate maximum listener response.

The right venue. The radio campaign must run on the right station, time and program to reach the right population. Creative must match the tone and style of the program and speak directly to the interests of its potential customers.

The right spokesperson. The event speaker can mean the difference between its success or failure. Use noted people in each market, such as radio personalities with familiar voices.

Low media cost. Buying radio time cost-effectively can be the key to successful event radio advertising. Compare all daypart rates carefully. Take advantage of the benefits of remnant inventory purchases.

Trained consultants. Event consultants must know how to support the speaker’s presentation, explain a product’s benefits, counter objections, upsell, make offers and close sales.

Use catalogs. Generate repeat sales by including a catalog with shipment of a customer’s first order. Use catalogs to promote sales of additional products with special incentives.

Talk to the experts. Experienced event radio advertising professionals can help you develop a profitable selling event, from the right radio message and media buys to compelling speakers and presentation scripts-even to building effective e-commerce web sites. It takes years to learn event marketing know-how. Experts can not only save you time and help you avoid costly mistakes but also assure you of a successful event marketing campaign.

Bill Sullivan is president of the William Sullivan Advertising agency based in Millburn, N.J. He can be reached at (973) 379-8555, or via e-mail at [email protected].


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