Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Radio (Still) Gets Results - an Audio Presentation

The fact that I retrieved this presentation from a cassette tape tells you something about how long ago I put it together. (Hint: it was before we recorded onto flash memory cards, before we emailed MP3's, even before we burned CD's. Seinfeld was airing in prime time, yada-yada-yada.)

Nonetheless, it's worth sharing.

Thinking about the success of Steve and Theresa Myers prompted me to search for this presentation I put together years ago to share some of my clients' success stories with prospective advertisers. It was a local implementation of the RAB's original "Radio Gets Results" initiative.

Back then, I'd ask the prospect to listen to the cassette in the car, driving to or from work. It proved an effective means of establishing credibility with new prospects, and opened many opportunities to help them with their advertising.

Today, a presentation of this sort would likely be posted on a station's website, or maybe uploaded to You Tube.

Running time's about nine minutes, longer than I'd make it if I were doing it today. Folks' attention spans keep getting shorter.

That said, the clients and their stories were/are real.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Myers Auto Rebuild and Towing

It was neat to see my client, Myers Auto Rebuild and Towing, profiled in the March 23, 2009 issue of Radio Ink magazine!

Here's the link to my original post about their successful use of their thirty-second full-sing jingle, "The Client Whose Copy Never Gets Changed."

We should all be so fortunate to have clients like Steve and Theresa Myers.

Another Opportunity for Radio to Shine

May is Military Appreciation Month - providing an opportunity for radio stations and their advertisers to honor local men and women serving in America's armed forces. Five military celebrations take place in May: Loyalty Day (1st) ◊ VE Day (8th) ◊ Military Spouse Appreciation Day (8th) ◊ Armed Forces Day (16th) ◊ Memorial Day (25th)

To help radio stations and advertisers connect with listeners whose family members have served or are serving today to defend and preserve our liberty, Grace Broadcast Sales (GBS) is offering two FREE :60-second radio features for use by any commercial or non-commercial broadcast station in the United States. Each of these one-minute salutes provides approximately :10 seconds at the beginning and :20 seconds at the end for Station or Sponsor inserts.

Audition or download the free spots - and get more information on Military Appreciation Month.

Radio Gets Results - A "Radio Heard Here" Video

Whether you sell radio advertising, use radio advertising, or are thinking about trying radio advertising for your business...here's a short, entertaining video that demonstrates Radio's pervasiveness.

Ironically, Radio's ubiquitous presence may explain why some in the advertising community don't get excited about it. It's not The Next Thing. It's just "there."

As in...


For more detailed information on the effectiveness of Radio as an advertising medium, visit the Radio Ad Lab.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Raiders of the Radio Ad Budget

Ever stopped to count all the different competitors in your market, trying to raid your clients' shrinking advertising budgets?

After posting on the supermarket video ad display yesterday, I thought it might be interesting to compile a list and see how long it gets.

Here's what I've come up with for starters. Please feel free to add to it using the Comments button below.

Newspaper display ads.
Classified ads.
Newspaper inserts and flyers.
Weekly "shoppers" and other print publications.
Cable TV.
Broadcast TV.
Sports programs.
Sports pocket schedules.
Sports schedule posters.
City maps.
Concert programs.
Backs of tickets.
Bumper stickers.
Direct mail.
Door hangers.
Yellow Pages ads.
White Pages ads.
Website banners.
Search ads.
Sponsored links.
Bus stop bench ads.
Airport panel ads.
Hotel window boxes.
Mall kiosks.
Supermarket video displays.
Movie theater ads.
Bowling alley score-sheet ads.
Restaurant menu ads.
Advertising specialties (pens, key chains, etc.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How to Squander a Perfectly Good Ad Budget

Advertising dollars are scarce in the best of times. Competition is always fierce. But in today's economy, can any businessperson afford to squander his limited advertising budget?

You wouldn't think so.

The sheer number of competitors for local ad dollars is matched only by the mind-numbing stupidity of some of these new alternative forms of advertising.

For a couple years now, I've watched and winced as a local grocery store (a client of mine, no less) has made wall space available to an out-of-town company to mount two flat-screen monitors that carry Powerpoint-type video display ads. These monitors are mounted eight feet or so above the ground, spaced 20 or 30 feet apart at the end of the checkout lanes.

I've stood around paying close attention to see if anyone even glances at these things, let alone watches them long enough for an impression to register. Drives me crazy to see all the advertisers they've bamboozled, including a few regular Radio advertisers (and many that have never spent a dime on Radio. Isn't anybody calling on them?)

Here's a view from the vantage point of Suzy Shopper, the captive consumer, standing in line waiting to be checked out. Presumably, instead of watching her groceries being scanned and rung up by the checker, while engaging in a brief, pleasant verbal exchange, Suzy's head will turn 90 degrees and her eyes will be fastened upon the monitor, as she checks out all the wonderful ads. (Assuming it's turned on. It's been dark on more than one occasion.)

Think she'll head right home with all her groceries? Nah, she'll drive to the French restaurant instead. Maybe have a new furnace installed. Or else she'll drop by the real estate agency and shop for a new home.


It's painful to think about all the ad dollars that have been wasted on this garbage "medium." At the same time, it represents an opportunity for a conscientious Radio advertising professional to help a business in dire need of better advice.

What similar opportunities exist at this moment in your market?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fish Mongers vs. Fear Mongers

"The Pike Place Fish Market, founded in 1930, is an open air fish market located in Seattle, Washington's Pike Place Market, at the corner of Pike Street and Pike Place. It is known for their tradition of fishmongers throwing fish that customers have purchased, before they are wrapped. After nearing bankruptcy in 1986, the fish market owner and employees decided to become "world famous", changing their way of doing business by introducing their flying fish, games, and customer performances. Four years later, they were featured repeatedly in the national media and television shows. The store is now a popular tourist destination in Seattle, attracting up to 10,000 daily visitors, and is often billed as world-famous." - Wikipedia

Such is the power of a can-do attitude, backed by the work necessary to make things happen.

This weekend's 11th annual Palouse Empire Home & Garden EXPO was a breath of fresh air for me, as the show's producer, as it was for the eighty or so exhibitors that decided to show up and do some business instead of staying home and talking about how terrible things are. I expected good traffic on Saturday and was not disappointed.

One of my clients, a successful HVAC contractor, talked non-stop to prospects interested in his residential wind generators, for four-and-a-half hours straight, before his wife finally intervened and urged him to take a break and get a drink of water. (Later this week - if I can pin him down - I hope to post a short interview with him about his success at the EXPO and consumer response to his new radio commercial. Stay tuned.)

If you're not subscribing to Roy Williams' free Monday Morning Memo, you really ought to. This morning's edition contained this timely observation from the Wizard:

...a frightened person frightens other people. And these newly frightened people will frighten still more people until finally no one is spending any money. Fear is the fuel of recession. I understand perfectly what’s happening in the world. I simply choose not to be afraid.

You can choose, too...

Warren Buffett agrees with this outlook.

“Fear is very contagious. You can get fearful in 5 minutes, but you don’t get confident in 5 minutes.” - Warren Buffett on CNBC, Monday, March 9, 2009

CNBC: “We’ve been getting thousands and thousands of emails from our viewers. Warren, we’d like to start with one that echoes a theme we heard again and again. This one comes from Terry in San Antonio, Texas, who asks, ‘Will everything be all right?’”

BUFFETT: “Everything will be all right. We do have the greatest economic machine that man has ever created. We started with 4 million people back in 1790 and look where we’ve come. And it wasn’t because we were smarter than other people. It wasn’t because our land was more fertile or we had more minerals or our climate was more favorable. We had a system that worked. It unleashed the human potential. It didn’t work every year. We had 6 ‘panics’ in the 19th century. In the 20th century we had the Great Depression, World Wars, all kinds of things. But we have a system – largely free market, rule of law, equality of opportunity – all of those things that cause the potential of humans to get unleashed. And we’re far from done. Your kids will live better than mine. Your grandchildren will live better than your kids. There’s no question about that. But the machine gets gummed up from time to time. If you take the bulk of those centuries, probably 15 years were bad years. But we go forward.”

Did you notice the quote the twitchy news people of America lifted from Buffett’s very upbeat, 3-hour interview? They filtered out all kinds of affirming, positive statements (such as the one above) to create the headline, “Warren Buffett Says ‘The Economy Fell Off a Cliff.”

Slippery Wall-Streeters triggered this recession but the twitchy news media seems committed to making sure it progresses.

On February 5th I posted a link to a Paul McDonnold piece in the Christian Science Monitor, in which the writer asked, "Is the media reporting the recession - or worsening it?"

We can't stop the news media from being themselves (though Roy's suggestion to slap 'em and tell 'em to stop is tempting) - but we can choose how we'll respond to any adversity we face.

I prefer the approach of the fish monger to that of the fear monger.

How about you?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Enlist YOUR Listeners to Help Defeat the "Performance Tax" Now!

I was working into the wee hours this morning when Tom Taylor's newsletter arrived in my inbox, carrying a story about Cleveland's classical colossus WCLV 104.9 FM taking the fight against the performance royalty bill (sponsored by Michigan congressman John Conyers) to their radio listeners.

As I've had the privilege and pleasure of doing business with WCLV over the years, I asked Robert Conrad, WCLV's founder and president, for permission to share the spot he's currently airing on the damaging effect this new tax bill, if passed, would have on the radio broadcast industry.

Because this issue affects every commercial radio station in America that plays music, you may wish to broadcast your own version of this message and urge your listeners to take action.

If you have a website, you may wish to view the letter of opposition to this measure, based on information provided by the Free Radio Alliance, along with a list of Congressional representatives and their contact information, posted on WCLV's website.

An Opportunity for Radio to Shine

Every year local newspapers and magazines across America conduct their annual reader polls -- "best of" surveys in which their readers are asked to rate local businesses and other entities.

The results of these reader polls generally serve to promote good business throughout the community.

They also provide beaucoup opportunities for (surprise!) ...selling advertising.

Typical survey questions include:

Who's your favorite local TV news personality (sportscaster, weatherperson, etc.)?

Who in town makes the best pizza (hamburger, salad, sandwich, dessert, etc.)?

What's the best Chinese (Korean, Greek, Mexican, Italian, etc.) restaurant?

Favorite bakery (ice cream shop, watering hole, Espresso stand, wine bar, place to meet the opposite sex, etc.)

Favorite local doctor (optometrist, massage therapist, bank teller, college professor, insurance agent, city official, etc.)?

It's not uncommon for a poll to contain dozens of retail categories: clothing, furniture, appliances, lawn and garden, hardware, gifts, jewelry, hair salon, fitness club, book store, auto dealer, tire shop, service shop, drug store, supermarket, meat department...the list can go on and on....

They might also ask who has the friendliest staff? ...the cleanest facility? ...the funkiest decor? ...the best smell? ...the most attractive waitress? ...the best bartender?

Obviously this is just a representative sampling of the types of companies and individuals that can be included in a "Best of [Community]" poll.

But what a marvelous opportunity! It's loaded with benefits and no negatives that I can think of. (OK, so the losers don't get to say they're #1 this year. So what? They might be on top next year, if they work at it.)

At the end of the survey, results are tallied and the winners receive framed certificates to display proudly in their businesses, for all the world to see. It creates a lot of buzz, both for the business community and for the media outlet conducting the survey, whose logo appears on every award certificate.

So why is it that - in most of the markets I'm familiar with anyway - this promotion always seems to be the exclusive province of the print media? ("Ol' Smudgy," as my friend Jay Mitchell likes to call 'em.) Because it's easier for them to conduct a survey?

I'm sure there must be exceptions where the local radio station is running this show, thereby positioning itself as a community leader. I just don't know of any.

But it's a real opportunity for Radio to shine, my friend.

And so easy to put together!

•Let salespeople and air staff help create the survey form, identifying the obvious categories along with a few esoteric ones for fun.
•Write some promos inviting listeners to visit your website and fill out the survey form.
•Take printed copies to remotes.
•Pass them out at supermarkets, shopping malls, anywhere large numbers of people congregate. •Email them to listeners.
•Offer some nice prizes in a random drawing from among all completed surveys. (Great way to build a loyal listener database for future promotions.)

Make it fun, make it worthwhile for people to fill out the questionnaire, and you'll get lots of participation.

Then, make a big deal of announcing and saluting the winners. Use some trade and take 'em out to dinner to present the awards. Create "theater" by broadcasting the presentations. Or literally, take videos and upload them to You Tube and your own website. Share them on Facebook.

Make it as big a deal as you can imagine, and you'll ride on the goodwill for a long time to come.

Best of all, you'll get to do it again the next year.

And the next.

Once you've staked this promotion as YOURS, it'll stay yours for as long as you want to keep it going. And if one of your local print media is already doing a Readers' Poll...do your own anyway. (In the words of the late, great radio sales trainer, Jim Williams, "What the heck's wrong with two good things?")

A favor. If your station is doing this promotion, now or in the future, would you drop me a line and let me know about it? Thanks.

And good selling!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Remembering Paul Harvey

I grew up in Chicago, listening to WLS. Dick Biondi, Art Roberts, Clark Weber, and Ron Riley played records and bantered. Lyle Dean read the news. Paul Harvey turned it into the stuff of life.

America could set its watch by Paul Harvey.

His noontime broadcasts were a given, a constant. Year after year, decade after decade, Paul Harvey showed up right on schedule to share his distinctive take on the news and not-so-news of the day.

When I left Chicago in 1972, his was the only voice that followed me from one market to the next. I couldn't conceive of an American radioscape without Paul Harvey.

He also was a consummate pitchman. When he spoke about a product, you just knew he was telling the truth. To this day, I can still remember the words he used to launch the Teledyne Water Pik as a national brand: "Over, around, and in-between...Water-Pik'd teeth are hydraulically clean!" I admired his ability to communicate product benefits so naturally and authoritatively many years before I backed into my own career in advertising.

Paul Harvey set an impossible standard for elocution on radio, and achieved it daily. His demeanor was ever that of a gentleman, gracious, considerate, and kind. He remained a rock, unmoved by the vicissitudes of a shifting social and cultural landscape.

As I came to learn, his values were grounded in his Christian faith. Decades before there was such a thing as the "Christian Right", it was obvious to anyone with half a brain that he actually took his Bible seriously. The scriptures informed and shaped his worldview.

He didn't wear his religion on his sleeve; he just lived it.

Which is why most days he spoke with a confident smile in his voice and, I suspect, a confident twinkle in his eye.

The milestones he cared about were the extraordinary accomplishments of ordinary people. Celebrity status and achievements were ephemeral and unimportant. Leave the gossip and scandal to others. Paul Harvey would rather call our attention to an elderly couple among his listeners, celebrating their 50th or 60th wedding anniversary that day. Such was the stuff real life was made of.

He celebrated the institution of marriage, even as the revolution of the 60's sought to undermine it. He placed his "Angel" on a pedestal, where she remained until the time of her death a couple years ago. Now they are together forever.

ABC will find someone else to occupy Paul Harvey's time slot.

No one will ever fill his shoes.