Radio Days Past and Present

Vector realistic isolated neon sign of Radio logo with headset for decoration and covering on the wall background. Concept of on air, broadcasting and dj.Once upon a time in what seems a world long ago, a young handsome man with agency credentials, (I’ll give you a “maybe” on the “handsome,”) drove around to radio stations delivering well produced and magnificent  radio commercials on ½ track reels which would then be transferred to cart machine at the station. There was a formula that clients could use at the time in order to gauge the effectiveness of the advertising based upon the response. Most of the time it was deemed effective at least to some degree.

Ahh, the good ol’ days!

Flash forward about 30 years and I am now extremely active in the online digital media biosphere. I am still active in and around radio as well. The terrestrial broadcast world is tremendously viable today although the winds blow around in it a bit differently.

Given that I have a broad mix of backgrounds I feel as though I am distinctively capable of being objective as I analyze how the online media world markets itself, along with how the radio and traditional advertising market currently works both with and against the forces of the internet.

For all of the high-talk we have in our society against bias and stereotyping it is almost a guarantee that if you listen to someone analyze the opposite ends of these two mediums they will mention age as a limiting factor.

Social media “gurus” will often claim that recommending print or radio advertising to your boss might work well if you work for a bunch of “60 year-olds who haven’t transitioned yet.”

That’s a sign of the times, isn’t it? We don’t adapt to the market place but we do “transition.” It kind of reminds me of the movie “Logan’s Run” wherein when you turned 30 you had to “renew.”

By contrast radio and broadcast “experts” will often claim that radio has been around a long time and is still one of the most used forms of media. Therefore, unless your “millennial boss” wants you to play around on social media all day you better choose real advertising.

So, what is the deal? What’s happening with advertising and marketing these days in the online and traditional media realms?

Headphones and Microphone

Radio is still alive and well. However, the way you may utilize it has changed. The days of throwing a spot on the radio and just waiting for results are likely gone unless you are lucky. You will have to get your hands dirty by cultivating an online presence. This means doing it yourself or hiring someone else to do it for you.

The best case scenario would be to find an advertising/marketing professional who represents both the online marketing and radio industries with whom you can coordinate a comprehensive game plan.

Content MarketingPeople search for information now regarding the goods and services that they might be interested in. This is why your online content marketing strategy is so important. In a nutshell, whether it’s your website, social media or web videos you want to be sure that when people find the information that they are searching for that information, in turn, leads them to you.

Radio advertising will expose your name to people who may not be seeking information about your services at that moment. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing because that will serve two functions. For one, if your advertisement sparks someone’s interest they will Google you or search you out via social media. Second, even though many listeners will not have an active interest in your business at a given moment, when the day comes that they happen to be online researching the market place they will recognize your name when they find you. Familiarity is extremely important regarding the buyer’s choices.

One of the first steps in this process that I recommend to people is to identify and define the personality of your business. Just like shaking someone’s hand and getting a first impression, what is the impact that your business has on a listener of your advertising or when someone finds you online? Are you a price leader? Are you a value leader? Are you a specialized services leader? What aspects of your business do you always want to make an impression with regarding all of your clients? If you can’t answer any of these questions with simple answers then that is a problem because you can bet no one else can either.

Second, have a strong online presence. Make sure your website is up to date. Choose several social media platforms that work well for you and maintain them as well. Utilize short and bright videos across your online platforms along with clear and well-taken pictures. Research the viability of podcasts and other media that may serve you well online.

Headphones Podcast On-AirThird, if you choose to advertise on the radio make sure that the identity that you are forming for your business grabs the listener. I would likely start with short ads that stress your name and the core essence of your business identity. Avoid details in your radio spots such as specials, phone numbers, and locations. These details will not be retained by the listener. Just shake their hand firmly and make an impression. If you do that they will find you on their smartphone.

Advertise and market with associates who understand and appreciate all the forms of media available in these complex times. Be consistent. Know who you are as a business. Get out there and firmly shake some hands.

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