How To Give “Added Value” To Your Clients


(By Bob McCurdy) This weeks Monday morning blog summarizes a client meeting we had last week. It’s a great example of how knowledge of certain marketing fundamentals enabled us to guide the client to allocate their radio spend in a direction that will likely lead to a greater return and a more satisfied, long-term client.

If we’re to provide “added value” to our clients and agencies, the kind of added value that really contributes to their success, we need to be not only intimately familiar with the fundamentals of marketing, but discuss them whenever we have the chance. Becoming masters of marketing enables us to be seen not only for what we’re selling but for the insight and guidance we can provide, as we transition from vendor to partner.

The client in question was an automotive dealership and we discussed how these marketing fundamentals applied to both the automotive industry and their Q4 ad campaign. Our meeting focused on several key principles that we supported with Nielsen data that enabled us to elevate the conversation far beyond individual station attributes and CPP, focusing instead on overall campaign strategy and tactics. To this dealership’s credit, they not only listened, but embraced what was discussed.

Their initial inclination was to “own” several stations via massive spot schedules to complement their existing digital efforts. We noted that such a campaign might not be optimal for a dealership such as theirs with a comparatively limited ad budget, and would even be ill-advised for a dealership whose budget was considerably larger.

We suggested that it would be prudent to consider expanding the scope of their campaign via the inclusion of additional stations instead of generating mountains of frequency on fewer stations. We supported this contention by highlighting certain marketing fundamentals that we’ve written about previously:

Heavy/Light users: Every product and media channel in existence, radio stations included, has heavy and light users. Utilizing Tapscan, we highlighted how a disproportionately large percentage of paid impressions on stations under consideration would be heard by a disproportionately small percentage of the car-buying population. More stations with a lower but sufficient commercial load would enable them to extend the overall reach of their campaign, allowing them to get their messaging in front of more potential customers.

Recency: We stressed that circumstances typically put someone in the market for a new car, not a dealership’s advertising – “My lease is up,” “My car keeps breaking down,” “I need to do something,” generates more action than any advertisement possibly could. We stressed that they should want their message to be heard by as many consumers who are of the “I need to do something about my car this weekend” mindset.

Reach: It’s the “law of large numbers.” When you reach more consumers, your message is more likely to be heard by more individuals who are in the market for a car. Rule #1 of marketing: If you don’t invite them in, the chances of them visiting are slim.

Relevance: When their commercial is relevant, the car buyer will pay attention, and when they’re about to spend $30,000 on a car, automobile commercials become extremely relevant. As the relevance of a commercial increases, the need for frequency decreases. So when selling automobiles, reach generally trumps frequency.

Point of diminishing returns: “Carpet bombing” listeners with a commercial message is neither effective nor efficient. If the goal is to sell cars, it’s more productive to “reach many” rather than repeatedly “preach to a few,” especially when the few who are being carpet bombed are not any more likely to be in the market for a new automobile than those who escaped from the redundant messaging unscathed.

Thin-Slice: We all take cognitive short cuts once we’ve been exposed to a commercial several times. As a result, a :30 commercial begins to generate the communication impact of :10s and :15s. We suggested using this fact to their advantage by rotating in cheaper short-form commercials for those who’ve previously been exposed, while keeping the :30s in rotation for those who have yet to be exposed. This accomplishes two things: It extends the campaign’s reach while enhancing the advertiser’s share-of-voice. Plus, they serve to “refresh,” as we all need to be “reminded” from time to time.

Cognitive dissonance: A creative tactic that serves to ease a dealership into the shopper’s “consideration set.” The copy was designed to create dissonance by stressing that this weekend’s auto shopper would be making a “mistake” and “miss out” if they don’t at least visit the dealership. FOMO is real (fear of missing out).

The outcome:

  • Additional stations were added to the campaign enabling the advertiser to communicate a relevant message to more consumers.
  • Short-form commercials were strategically scheduled throughout the campaign to remind, refresh, and reinforce the :30s.
  • A cognitive dissonance call-to-action is being utilized in the short-form messaging.
  • The schedules have been carefully crafted for maximum impact.
  • We will be staying in close contact with this advertiser to ensure that if any scheduling or creative refinements are required, we’re there for them.

There are many things, both macro and micro, that can impact the success of any ad campaign but in terms of strategy, tactics, and creative, this advertiser is well positioned to generate a strong return from their ad spend. Both we and the client put forth our best thinking. We’re confident the campaign will be a success.

Bob McCurdy is The Vice President of Sales for The Beasley Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]


  1. I don’t think I’ve read an article with more incorrect, unsubstantiated claims in years. Bob completely disregards the proven worth of frequency as used on radio. He even outdoes the RAB on the preference for media mix, via reach, over frequency.
    The numbers of businesses who started out on a fool’s errand by trying to reach everyone a little and ending up having no impact with a big advertising bill are countless. Many of these businesses failed, having a bitter taste that advertising doesn’t work because they diluted their advertising trying to reach everyone through every possible means.
    Pure snake oil, Bob. You’ve just done your client a huge disservice (and radio, too).


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