How to Get Radio Into The Advertising Mix


(By Bob McCurdy) Working to modify advertising plans to include radio takes time and requires a “process.” What might seem obvious and logical to us might not seem obvious and logical to our clients.

The chart below represents the first phase of the “logic” part of this process, which I will be discussing with the Chevrolet dealers association in one of my markets. Compiling compelling market specific data in a manner which supports the “why radio” case is critical. Media Monitors, Scarborough, and Commspoint all play key roles.

While reviewing Media Monitors data in this market, we noticed that this dealer association aired over 15,000 commercials on TV (cable and network) since January 1. This equates to almost 600 commercials per week, or over 80 per day.

Any way one wants to spin or interpret this 15,000 figure, one thing is clear, and that is that everyone in the market is likely quite familiar, probably overly so, with this association’s messaging. In fact, according to Nielsen’s Commspoint, over half of the market’s A18+ population would have viewed the commercial 50+ times.

Adding insult to this injurious amount of repetition, the heaviest TV viewers, the viewers who are least likely to be purchasing a car according to the chart below, have viewed almost half of the association’s paid TV impressions.

I also utilized Commspoint to generate an advertising plan that maximized “awareness” and “consideration” while effectively communicating a “pricing” message, as most dealer associations advertising is geared toward getting the consumer to buy “now.”

The recommended allocation that maximized these three marketing tasks was 60.4% to TV and 39.6% to radio. The TV and radio media mix was determined to be:

+29% more effective in communicating a pricing message

+21% more effective in generating awareness

+25% more effective in getting Chevrolet into a consumer’s consideration set

than the TV campaign.

Why? One major reason is the limitation of “silo-investing.”  In 2017, rarely does a single medium out-perform two.

Interestingly, according to Media Monitors, radio plays a major role in three of Chevrolet’s key competitors’ marketing: Nissan, Honda, and Ford, respectively accounting for 24%, 41%, and 19% of all commercial instances.

It appears as if these three dealership associations are familiar with the point of diminishing returns and utilize some type of channel-planning mechanism to justify media allocation.

Beyond Media Monitors, Scarborough, and Commspoint, there are other proven key marketing principles that strongly suggest a mix of media:

Priming:  Exposure to an advertisement in one medium stimulates interest and curiosity in another.

Synergy: The combined effect of multiple marketing communication activities exceeds the sum of their individual effects.

Target Group Extension: A media mix can reach a larger part of a target group.

Encoding variability: Consumers exposed to the same message in multiple media will encode the messaging in a more complex manner.

Multiple Source Credibility: When exposed to the same message in multiple media, the consumer can perceive these media as “independent” sources of information and therefore more credible and persuasive.

Combine all of the above with the fact that the lightest TV viewers in this market account one out of five adults, watch TV only 15 minutes/day while tuning to radio close to 2 hours/day, and it seems like getting radio added to the plan is a no-brainer. As we know, however, it never is.

It takes time and it is a process, but the process has begun and the more such “processes” we have ongoing, the more successful we will become.

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



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