The pub menu conundrum

Asking this question is a bit like asking “Should I order the Chicken Parmigiana or the Seafood Marinara?” We’ve all been there at the pub confronted with a multitude of options and with our limited resources trying to decide, “Which one of these options will guarantee the best outcome?” I often go with the safe option – the Parmy.

There are countless factors that go into a purchasing decision but when I speak with existing or potential sponsors in regards to radio marketing I think deep down, they all have the same question.

Confronted with the multitude of options such as: SEO, Google Ad Words, Social Media advertising, Website design, letterbox drops, email marketing, print media, radio, TV, etc, marketers and business owners are always trying to decide, “which one of these options will guarantee the best outcome for our business?”

I’m no expert but in my short time at Rhema 99.7 I’ve thought a lot about this question. I want to make sure that when I make a phone call or meet with a client, I’m not just “making a sale” but that I’m empowering sponsors with information that will help them make a more considered and responsible decision. We all understand the importance of marketing, that advertising is not an expense but an investment in your business, but when it comes down to it, “which option will guarantee the best outcome?”

Here are three important factors I believe everyone should consider when thinking about radio advertising – or all marketing for that matter.

1. Who is asking the question?

At every level of any organisation, there are different goals and subtle differences, which mean that a great result for one person, might not be received the same way by a different person or department.

Consider: A Marketing person is excited about an innovative ad campaign on social media. They come up with a great strategy and work with a videographer to come up with a punchy 60 second clip that gets great interaction on Facebook. A winning result right? But at the next staff meeting the Head of Finance points out just how much it cost to produce that 60 seconds of gold. The Sales Manager also jumps in and shares that they haven’t seen any actual movement in sales.

So before we answer the question “how can you guarantee me a result?” It’s very important to know who, in an organisation is asking it and what result will they be looking for?

2. Guarantee

Wouldn’t life be easier if we could just guarantee everything? “Buy this car and you won’t have any issues – guaranteed.” Or, “Stay in this hotel and you’ll have the best time – guaranteed.” But we all know the old adage, “nothing in life is guaranteed except…” This same issue exists in the big bad world of marketing.

 Consider: All forms of media can guarantee you certain things that lie within their control. A Newspaper can guarantee they will print your ad a certain number of times and will sell 5000 copies of that newspaper on any given day. A radio station can guarantee they will play your ad a certain number of times per day and that they have 30,000 weekly listeners in a certain location. A social media campaign will promise that your ad will be seen by 15,000 viewers.

In any of these examples, what the marketing agent cannot offer is a guarantee for how consumers will behave. So it is a misnomer to say “spend $X with us and we can guarantee you’ll get this result.” I would argue we should use the language, “if you invest with us, based on x,y,z we will give you the best chance of getting this result.” Or by pointing to anecdotal evidence we can say, “I feel what you’re saying is…other businesses that have used our products have felt…and the results suggest that they have found…”

A point of clarification: It might sound like I’m trying to minimise responsibility. By saying “we didn’t actually guarantee this would happen,” it gives me an out if your campaign doesn’t go exactly to plan. But that is definitely not my intention. I’ve merely noticed over the last 18 months that marketers and business owners want a guarantee and they don’t consider that our unwillingness to offer a guarantee isn’t due to a lack of confidence in our product but a desire to make clear what marketing can and can’t do.

3. Measurability

There is no denying that measurability is very important. How will you know if you achieved a result if you can’t measure the difference with or without your marketing activity?

Consider: While measurability is super-important, we need to realise that it can only get us so far. Of course you can measure the number of people who actually clicked on a certain link or the amount of flyers you had printed. But there will always be certain things you cannot measure. Did the person who received your flyer actually         see a billboard ad for your business earlier that day and the flyer only built on that exposure so they purchased your product through a combination of ads? Did the person who accessed your website actually hear your radio ad and then see your Social Media ad before hitting the link?

We need to measure, but we also need to accept the limitations of measuring. It is good to be scientific about these things and build systems to try and capture as much information as possible. Specialised phone numbers, unique landing pages on your website, training staff to just ask the “where did you hear about us?” question.       But we can’t fall into the trap of thinking that because we didn’t see the needle move a campaign was unsuccessful, perhaps we just didn’t capture all of the information needed.

With these things in mind, let me share why I think you should consider radio in your marketing mix. For over a decade in nearly the entire Western world, radio is continuously rated as the most trusted medium, period.[1]Here at Rhema we know that in any given month a minimum of 55,000 sets of ears are hearing our broadcast. In a Hunter region with a population of 550,000 that equals 10% of the population.

This article says it even better than I can:

“SO, IS RADIO ADVERTISING EFFECTIVE? Short answer? Yes. No other medium can reach such a broad cross section of potential customers as radio can. In addition to the audience, there’s the attention factor. Being able to place your company’s marketing message in front of a consumer for 30 (or 60) seconds is a gold mine. Compare this to the few seconds the average web browser spends on a single web page.

Repetition (frequency) also helps your local radio ad be more effective. While that web browser may never return to that web page, he or she will likely hear your radio ad multiple times. And, of course, repetition enforces recognition.[2]

So can I guarantee you a result? Yes. If we put together a campaign that has the right amount of reach and frequency we can get you a result. Is that 100% guaranteed? No. But we’ve already talked about the problem with guarantees. Radio is a tried and proven marketing medium that always performs well. We have statistical and anecdotal evidence to back that claim.

What would I say to someone who has tried radio in the past and not seen a great result?

I would ask, what was the result you were looking for and how did you measure it? There are a couple of key ways to use radio.

  1. A short-term, call to action campaign – Many of the world’s biggest brands use radio when they are running a sale. There is something about the audible medium that just works. But to be successful in the short term you need a high frequency 10+ ads per day.
  2. A long-term branding campaign – Radio is arguably the best medium for building your brand but to achieve this you need to invest for the long-haul. Ideally at a rotation of 21/52. This is 21 x 30 sec ads per week for 52 weeks.



I can hear the arguments already, “not everyone can afford 10 ads per day or 52 weeks of advertising!” But I would suggest you have a look at our pricing. We’ve worked hard in recent months at Rhema 99.7 to put ourselves in our sponsors position. We are a community radio station and while we do need to generate an income, our prices are designed to make radio accessible to everyone. As a friend of mine that works in a similar community radio station put it, “if they can afford vehicle signage for their business, they can afford a radio campaign.”

We want to help your business grow, especially during these COVID-19 times. Successful marketing is a blend of art and science, beautiful ads presented in the right way, to the right audience. Most marketers will advocate the need to operate across a range of mediums. So invest in social media, invest in print, and make sure your website has great SEO but you should also invest in radio, I think you’ll be glad you did.