Which 50% of Advertising Is Wasted?

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Jun 14, 2024 by Sean Luce

John Wannamaker, of retail fame, is credited with that jewel of a statement I know that 50 percent of my advertising is wasted, I just dont know which 50 percent. Being a business owner myself, quite frankly, that statement scares the heck out of me just to think that half of my marketing efforts are going to waste. I am sure that if any of your clients are thinking this way, its pretty tough to convince them how effective electronic media works or, more aptly, how effective electronic media is. 

Lets start with radio. Does it work? It works very well if used properly. Just recently a sales rep whom I work with in one of our markets was dejected after having just come back from a auto dealer where the station did a remote and five people showed up. I would be dejected as well in that scenario. I asked how long the client had been using the station before the remote? Response, Not as much as they should have -- a little here and there. In my seminars, I tell sales reps, especially in radio, that you have to make sure there is some Top of Mind Awareness built in with your audience before you break a promotion on them -- and doing a remote is a promotion. TOMA in this case, with the station's audience, would have been a minimum schedule of three months, considering that the National Auto Dealers Association says it's 3.2 months that the consumer is in the thought process" before they walk into their first showroom.

Lets look at some keys to effective radio advertising.

1) Schedule: Small-medium market-minimum of 40 commercials per week. I would bunch them up in four days running 10 units per day. Large to major market-minimum of a 3.29 frequency schedule of what is called OES or Optimum Effective Schedule (which can be figured up on your computer with the latest Arbitron software)

Remember, you first have to define the objectives and the expectations. If you are advertising for a bank, and they are looking for long-term Top of Mind Awareness and their expectations are to build their brand in the mind of the consumer, then use a horizontal schedule with some sponsorships to complement the schedule and attach themselves to a fixed position rotating every three months.

2) Creative Strategy: This goes for all size markets. Here is a list of eight key components of selling copy. You should try to get all eight in your copy but dont settle for less than six.
Hook -- first 10 seconds
Call to action
Price points not % off
Unique selling proposition
Urgency -- limited time
Name -- at least 3 Xs
Location (not address) at least twice

3) Client responsibility: In many cases we leave this all-too-important element out of our quest for success. Can the client close the people you bring in? Can they answer the phone without running off potential customers? Recently, I attended a behind-doors meeting with an unnamed automotive dealer at one of their corporate meetings. With 60 of their dealers from around their region, their No. 1 problem was employee turnover, which limited their closing ratio. In some cases, they have to fix their own problems before you can fix their walk in problems.

If we focus on what we do best, which is the above, and dont short-sell our stations, I happen to believe that well do much better than John Wannamakers statistics of only having 50 percent of our advertising dollar pay off.

Sean Luce is the Head International Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at sean@luceperformancegroup.com.

As seen in Radio Ink Headlines 11/14/12

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