And The Most Efficient Marketing Tool Is…

Not that many years ago the prescription for higher radio station ratings was to call Filmhouse, pay them for one of their successful syndicated TV commercials, buy 400 GRPs per week for 4-6 weeks and wait confidently for higher numbers when the book came out months later. While that heavy TV strategy might still work today, the necessary expenditure would far outstrip most market cluster marketing budgets – to say nothing of the possible outlay for a single station.

Radio stations loved using TV as a marketing vehicle for radio because they could align the buys to connect with targeted demographics and psychographics favorable to their audiences. But TV also requires advertisers to pay to reach a lot of people outside their targets – simply put, it’s inefficient.

Today, all advertisers are trying to be more efficient – to be able to spend their precious marketing dollars to reach only those who stand to make them more successful. For radio, this means focusing marketing dollars to reach not just consumers within a targeted demographic, but those consumers who are likely to be carrying a PPM or keeping a diary. It’s not only the right demographics – but also the splintered and specific geographies along with the special psychographics most likely to find ratings participants.

For a CHR, for example, the goal isn’t as much to find women 18-34 who listen to radio and prefer current hit music as it is to find women 18-34 who listen to radio, prefer current hit music and are participants in the ratings. It’s a matter of stacking the deck so that your marketing is more likely to connect with those who are in a position to bring the station lift.

In our NuVoodoo Ratings Prospect Studies we’ve looked at the differences between likely PPM participants and those who would ignore an offer to participate. Comparing the potential advertising media they notice points to the remaining power of TV (if you’re able and willing to pay for all the waste it involves) – and also the greater power of direct mail. And, perhaps more importantly the comparative efficiency of highly-targetable digital tools, since you pay to reach only those in the desired demographics, psychographics and narrow geographies (Zip Codes and smaller).

The chart shows the percentages who agree with these statements regarding advertising awareness among those likely to participate in PPM ratings (in blue) and those who say they wouldn’t participate (in red) and the index between the two numbers (in gray). Of course, the likely participants are more attuned to all these advertising channels. While TV reaches many of them, direct mail reaches even more – and allows precise targeting not possible with TV. Additionally, as the indices show, digital tools are incredibly efficient at reaching the desired targets.


Direct mail also hits consumers in the same place as the frequent initial contact to participate in the ratings: the mailbox. And, today’s variable creative direct mail can be tweaked to maximize relevance to the recipient in a variety of ways, including incorporating their name in the artwork – lifting response rates even more.

The chart doesn’t include calls from advertisers, A/K/A telemarketing. Dwindling landline access to consumers has become too narrow to make this a valuable tool in 2015. Think about the calls you get from marketers if you still have a landline at home. Is this how you want to represent your station, given all the available options? Additionally, increasing use of automated call directors in workplaces has made it harder and harder to reach useful humans by calling businesses.

Station marketing budgets keep getting tighter and tighter, requiring managers to get wilier about how to deploy their precious resources. These data point toward the tremendous value of direct mail, the tremendous efficiency of digital tools and the continued relevance of billboards. But, those Filmhouse TV commercials were great – which one was your favorite?