Direct Response Advertising; Radio vs TV

Radio advertising vs. television advertising

Many new advertisers assume that they should start on radio and "move up" sometime later to TV. I find that the road is usually smoother when it is taken in the other direction. TV can usually produce more immediate calls and instant prospects than radio and that is what the new advertiser needs -- especially the new advertiser with a limited budget. Later, when TV has been producing new business for awhile, radio can be added to reach new prospects.

Radio vs. TV

Hey, I love radio. I started in this business in radio, at the University of Texas campus station, in 1963. I listen to radio for hours every day. I would love for all my clients to be on the radio. In fact, I put one of my dental clients on the radio recently, along with his TV, and he did very well with it. But...

There's a problem. My clients usually want their phones to start ringing the first time their commercial runs, and keep ringing, and ringing and ringing. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get that kind of immediate and continuing response from radio.

That's probably because most radio listening is car listening. People hear the commercials and resolve to call later but then they forget. Also, radio is expensive. For example, in the Austin market, for what I would pay for a spot on one of the top five radio stations, I can buy three or four decent daytime TV slots. My client's cost per prospect is much lower with TV.

And television has one very important benefit that radio does not have: Every person watching television has immediate access to a phone, paper and pencil. Prospects can call while they still remember the message and the phone number. Or, they can write the number down and call later.

On the other hand radio can work very well -- and, apparently, does work (or seems to work) for many advertisers, or radio rates would not be so high.

If you have been using television for awhile, radio advertising can be a way to reach new prospects who might not know about you. And radio can be valuable for advertisers for whom the television reach is too general. They advertise on specific radio programs to target specific audiences.

But, in general, you will probably have to wait longer for the calls to come in than you would if you were using "immediate response" television to reach your prospects. Radio works well for advertisers who want to become part of the landscape and aren't so concentrated on getting immediate calls. But -- it usually takes more time, money and patience while you wait for results.

Steve Moundzouris
BigWater Media Group
http://www.bigwatermg.com

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