The Future Of Search Is A Radio Commercial

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(By Spike Santee) The goal of successful advertising is to be known before you are needed. The biggest mistake in advertising is waiting to be found. In other words, there are two kinds advertising: active and passive.

Active advertising, like radio advertising, builds top-of-mind awareness. In marketing, top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) refers to a brand or specific product being first in customers’ minds when thinking of an industry or category.

Passive advertising, search advertising, or waiting to be found, doesn’t do anything other than wait to be found. Internet search advertising is passive advertising, that’s why it is called search advertising in the first place. The advertising message is just sitting on a server somewhere waiting to be called upon. The customer must go “search” for what they want.

Top-of-mind awareness can be measured as the percentage of respondents who, without prompting, can name a specific brand or product first when asked to list all the advertisements they recall in a general product category. Top marketers place a priority on building top-of-mind awareness in their category because market share often mirrors the share of mind a brand enjoys.

The process of building top-of-mind awareness is more important now than ever before. With the proliferation of voice-enabled search with Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Apple Car Play, and Android Auto, the screen and keyboard play a smaller role in the process. The user’s eyes are on the road, or elsewhere, not on the device. The user will ask for the brand by name.

With a well-crafted radio commercial, a brand can build top-of-mind awareness quickly and affordably. Instead of asking Siri for a list of plumbers, today’s savvy brand builders recognize the advantage of being known before they are needed, the customer doesn’t need to ask for a list, they can ask for the brand by name directly.

Most voice-search devices can also make the phone call to the brand. Start writing your radio commercials with instructions on how to use Siri or Google. For example: Next time you need a plumber, say, “Alexa, call Jones Plumbing” or “OK Google, call Bob’s Heating and Cooling.” Use the radio commercial to teach the consumers how to find your customer’s brand on these new devices. Test it out and use the phrase that produces the best results.

Top-of-mind awareness can be measured. Market share is very often related to top-of-mind awareness. In other words, market share equals mind share. It is just common sense — how can a consumer recall and show with a brand they know nothing about?

Top-of-mind awareness is built by positive reinforcement; emotionally engaging messages that create a positive image of the brand. That is radio advertising’s most effective ability.

You can start writing more effective commercials today. You just might set off some devices within earshot of the consumer’s radio.

Spike Santee is the author of The Four Keys to Advertising Success and the president of SpikeSantee.com. Contact Spike at (785) 230-5350.

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