Secrets Your Radio Sales Rep Forgot To Share – A Rebuttal

I found this article today by Stephen E. Feswick and would like to comment on it.  I think there are some good thoughts but mostly flawed ideas in his argument on Secrets of Radio that I would like to respond to.   I’ve posted my comments in RED

There are secrets you need to know if you would like to maximize your marketing budget the next time you decide to advertise with your local radio station!  
OK, I’m listening
But, before I pull back the curtain and reveal some insider secrets, there are a few things you need to know about the operation and management of a radio station.
First of all, remember radio stations exist solely to extract money from the market place. Their single driving motive is PROFIT. This means the format a station plays, be it Top 40; News, Talk, Sports; Country; Alternative and so forth doesn’t matter.
Radio stations, like all good businesses, are designed to differentiate from competition and profit from consumers by providing a service or product to at a fair price.  The format of a radio station is carefully chosen to attract a specific group of listener demographics that are appealing to a specific group of advertisers.  The format a station chooses is meant to either entertain or educate its audience.  That specific format matters to the listeners and therefore the advertisers trying to communicate with that listening audience.
Stations couldn’t care less. They only play what they play to own the ears and fleeting attention spans of the largest market segment in the communities they serve. Don’t worry about the station format – it doesn’t matter. Whatever you do, never buy radio advertising soley because you like what they play. It’s all about audience. Concern yourselves exclusively with the quality of the audience.
Every advertiser should worry about the format.  If a business was trying to sell a Lexus, it makes no sense to try and convince 18 year olds that a Lexus is the kind of car that young, low income earning demographic should buy.  They can’t afford it.   Conversely, if you are a nightclub owner, why would you advertise on a adult contemporary station that is targeting their programming to appeal to 45 year old women?  Your money is better spent on that station format that is designed to attract 18 year olds.  
I agree you shouldn’t pick a station because you like what they play.  You should pick a station that can deliver your message to an audience that is likely to buy your product.   The quality of audience is more important than the size of audience.
Radio sales people are very poorly trained in successful, proven and measurable marketing techniques. Don’t buy radio advertising from a sales rep who can’t provide a list of at least 3 books on the subject of marketing they’ve read in the past 12 months. How can they help you market better if they aren’t educating themselves on the subject of marketing?
Most marketers have trouble measuring marketing techniques.  Radio sales people are not an exception.  This is as true for TV reps as it is for print, outdoor billboard and web marketers or advertisers.   I agree completely that all marketers should educate themselves, but books are just one resource available to learn from.  Would you not consider your blog an educational tool?
If you haven’t heard from your sales rep in the past 90 days, FIRE them. Call the station sales manager (if you still want to do business with them) and request a new rep. If a rep who earns their money selling you radio commercials won’t take the time to call you at least once a month to ask how you’re doing, how the business is running and finally, how the current radio campaign is working or not working for you, they don’t deserve your business.
You should request a new rep if you feel that you aren’t getting the service you deserve.  It’s important to feel like your media rep is working with you rather than just taking your money.
Never, and I mean NEVER allow the stations’ creative department to write your radio ads. You are the expert in your business category. Take control and act like an expert.
Imagine: A prospective customer walks into your store and approaches you to ask a question about your service or products. Who in their right mind, would step aside and allow their radio sales rep to take control of the sale and deal with the customer?
Unlike jobs with a professional designation ie. MDs, Lawyers, Engineers I’ve not met many marketers (reps or buyers) who have expert designation.   True, the majority of local clients I work with are the experts in their field.  Many of them are business owners who perform many duties of which marketing is just one of them.   You are the expert of your business.  
But, are you an expert in creative writing?  The creative department at most radio stations are very good at developing & crafting a message that will appeal to their listeners and give them reasons to buy your product or service.    Before anything goes on air, we get approval from our advertisers.  We can create jingles, add sound effects and have a variety of talented voice actors to produce your message.  At no additional charge.   Why would you not take advantage of that service?  We don’t walk into your business and try to sell your products.
Remember, a sales reps job is to convince you to spend your marketing budget with them instead of the newspaper, TV or a direct marketing campaign. They do not know the relevant issues relating to your business, the special knowledge you have acquired over the years and the essential information customers must know before making a purchase.
I don’t try to convince advertisers to to spend their marketing budget with radio instead of other media outlets.  I think it’s important to use multiple media forms that will reach customers on multiple senses.  Radio is sound.  Print & direct mail is visual.  TV is both.  If you can afford it, you should use a media mix that reaches your potential consumers through all their senses.  
For those who cant afford a multi-sensory advertising campaign, I have an alternative suggestion.   My advice is to concentrate your marketing budget on the right media platform that will deliver the right message, to the right people, the right number of times in the most cost efficient way possible.  Compared to TV, Direct mail and Newspaper, radio will win just about every time.
Most advertisers believe it’s easier to allow their sales rep to take control of the commercial writing duties. Stop it now. You are responsible for the ad.
Ultimately you are responsible. We are here to help.
You are the one that knows your customers’ wants and needs – don’t you? You know what your unique selling position is; the reasons why customers should do business with you instead of your competition. You’re the one with the drive and passion to run a successful business, so don’t pass on that responsibility.
Identifying a unique selling proposition isn’t always that simple.  “The best customer service” is not it.  “Reliable” doesn’t work either.  “Trustworthy” means nothing.  “The lowest Price” is a bad business model.  
Radio advertising is simply one element of your overall marketing campaign. You must take the time and effort to learn how to do it properly so as not to waste a single dollar of your hard earned marketing budget.
Canadians spend most of their time equally with 3 media platforms…TV, RADIO & INTERNET.  Here’s a couple of links that will help “educate” you on media usage and the pros & cons of various media types.  Stephen is right, you shouldn’t waste your hard earned marketing budget.

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