Murdering Your Radio Campaign

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August 26, 2019

Murdering Your Radio Campaign

Police detectives know that all deaths fall into one of four categories: Homicide, Suicide, Accidental and Natural Causes.  In radio advertising, the reasons behind a radio campaign landing on the coroner’s slab can be far more complicated, often unknowingly self-inflicted by the well-meaning, but misguided, architects of the program.

Let’s start with the creative.  Someone (many times the business owner) gets a clever idea for a commercial.  Suddenly BAM! that becomes the commercial.  Rather than review a dozen or more script treatments from a pool of writers – and empower a qualified panel to review the options – the first idea that tickles the owner’s fancy gets the green light.  End of story. 

We also see plenty of radio scripts written by people with great talent in areas other than radio copywriting.  Unfortunately, a great print or email wordsmith doesn’t necessarily create great radio copy.  We often see scripts with awkward references to visuals that won’t play on radio.  We read painful two-person dialog scenes that try to pass off two people reciting a product’s laundry list of benefits as normal, everyday conversation.  And we cringe at ad copy “written for the page” that ignores the conversational style needed for radio’s one-to-one communications model to connect and resonate.

One of the most egregious errors in judgment is complicating the call to action by forgetting that a radio listener isn’t typically giving your message 100% of their attention at the moment they hear it.  They’re not “standing by,” pencil or pen in hand, to write down your website URL or phone number. works just fine if all I have to do is click a link.  But if an announcer has to say “That’s Travvel with two v’s and Cheep with two e’s,” I, the listener, am thinking I’m better off with my current providers, than with a potential new business resource that wasn’t resourceful enough to score for its own brand.

And if you’re driving response to a phone number, just notice the difference between 1-800-MATTRESS and 888-525-50-50 versus 855-275-6723.  The extra dollars you invest in an easy-to-remember response destination is often the difference between red ink and black ink.

On the media side, the most common self-inflicted wound is buying your favorite radio station because it’s your favorite radio station.  Sure, it feels great to hear your name on your favorite show.  But if you’re selling women’s clothing on a sports talk radio show, you might as well feed cash through a shredder.

What’s your plan to source and track leads and sales?  What’s your plan to scale back or ramp up, based on the results of your first campaign.  Mismanaging a successful first-time campaign is like lining up a row of dominoes out of sequence.  When one falls out of place, the last domino (the one that rings the cash register) will never fall in line.

Radio advertising has its own set of rules, tricks and smart practices.  Guessing at what’s best is a pricey ante to get into the game.  Reach out, if we can help you increase the odds of your success.

Mark Lipsky

CEO & Creative Director of The Radio Agency, a national advertising agency 100% focused on creating and managing sound advertising campaigns through the medium of radio. You can reach Mark at [email protected].