Respect Your Audience’s Intelligence!


(Author’s note: This article will mainly reference radio stations and other media; however, it is just as applicable to your company and business industry.)

(By James Bahm) I previously shared an article on listening to the message you are sending to your intended audience (AKA your “target consumers”). If you want to continue growing your customer base — and regardless that some business owners say, “I have more business than I know what to do with” — every business wants new customers.

In any town across the country, someone just moved in and they need to know the places to eat, shop, see a movie, or have a good ice cream sundae. Sure they can ask around to their neighbors (or social media); however, a business owner cannot control what someone may say. Ask me about where to go in Louisville for a good sandwich and I’m liable to give you more places where not to go than I will one or two you need to visit.

As a business owner, you are too dialed into your day-to-day operations, and your staff, to spend too much time on your marketing and advertising — and you are not able to control the word-of-mouth coming from those who love, hate, revile, or adore you…BUT you can control the message they hear on the radio/television/online that will either: A) Reinforce the positive, B) Negate the negative, or C) Introduce and invite someone who’s never heard of you to give you the opportunity to earn their business.

I am a marketing professional, and it is my responsibility to create a message and implement a campaign that will accomplish all three at once — and this goes for every person involved in the process at every radio/television station, newspaper, and ad agency across the country.

If broadcasters want to grow their ratings, command higher rates, and deliver results, they need to respect their audience by not insulting them with crap that they want to pass off as a good spot/creative ad.

Not too long ago I met with a local business owner and the first thing he said was: “We tried radio and it didn’t work. There’s no way to measure it.” I stood right there and said, “I’m not surprised to hear you say that. There are dozens of ways to advertise incorrectly and only a handful of ways to do it right.”

Her guard went down some. I followed by guessing that the rep at whatever station they were with wrote a spot that sounded like this: “We have a dedicated team of professionals who are committed to giving you the best customer service experience…” The entire time, my client nodded their head, and said THAT’S RIGHT! I also scheduled a meeting a couple of weeks later that led to a new client on the air!

Broadcasters, please learn this: NO ONE CARES that your client’s business is family owned and operated with a friendly, knowledgeable, dedicated staff committed to giving outstanding customer service. With a team of certified technicians who do the job right the first time. Forget the rest and try the best, we have six convenient locations …

Again, no one cares about any of this.

If you actually care about your audience, respect them, and your clients, enough to write and produce commercials/creative that people want to hear/see.

I get that owners want to write their own copy, and many owners think that what I said above is actually important. It’s not. Respectfully disagree with them. You are (I hope) a professional salesperson and an expert at what you do. Say as much and tell them this, “If I were to let you put that type of commercial on the radio, you’d be one of the thousands of business owners who’d say ‘I tried radio and it didn’t work.'”

Consumers listen to the radio (or watch TV, or read the paper) and they expect to see/hear commercials/advertisements. If you want more listeners, I promise you: write good copy that engages your audience and they will not only listen, but they will also listen longer. Not only will they listen, but your clients also will too. More customers through their doors translate into more sales, which leads to longer schedules at higher rates.

Bottom Line: Respect someone’s intelligence by advertising an honest message that is all about the customer, not the advertiser!

James Bahm is a 25-year broadcasting professional, an advertising and marketing resource, and owner of The Bahm Consulting.


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