Radio Creates Traffic

51Radio is like the Rodney Dangerfield of media; it doesn’t get any respect. Ask any business owner what form of advertising is best and they will almost always respond “word of mouth.” Hard to argue that position. Well, radio is really word of mouth communication with a really big mouth.

Last week I wrote an article titled “Don’t Let Radio End Up Like Yahoo!” The whole point of the story was that radio has the power to make things happen; to create traffic, be it in-store or online.

Google Analytics & The Great Oz

TechCrunch published a great article on “How Google Analytics Ruined Marketing” that a good friend of mine sent to me. It’s a long, but excellent read. It left me thinking how Google is like the Wizard of Oz. The Great Oz wasn’t as great as the people in the Emerald City made him out to be. But the wizard was very good at distraction. While everyone was staring at the huge face and the smoke and flames that billowed from below it, Oz took everyone’s eye off of reality.

Google Analytics is like that. It created a whole new bunch of buckets to measure people’s online marketing effectiveness. Except it really doesn’t tell you what you really need to know and that is WHY things happened. If people began searching for your business or product on Google or clicked on your ad on Facebook, you haven’t a clue as to what caused them to do that.

Marketing Channels vs. Marketing Strategies

Radio is a marketing channel. TV is a marketing channel. Newspaper is a marketing channel. But in the digital world, those channels are called social media marketing and search marketing; only they really are not. Facebook, Google, and all the rest are just another marketing channel. You need to develop a marketing strategy first and then deploy it on marketing channels.

What Google Analytics Misses

Google Analytics traps business owners and advertising agencies into thinking that it measures everything in their marketing strategy. It doesn’t. It only measures online activity. It completely misses how radio, TV or any of the mass media are having an impact.

It’s All About the Message

I’m a disciple of The Wizard of Ads, Roy H. Williams, who has long preached there really are no bad marketing channels only bad messages. Roy prefers the power of radio and its ability to deliver word of mouth advertising with the longer lasting results of echoic retention. Roy uses the example of eye witnesses vs. ear witnesses. Police often find that everyone saw something different when then go around interviewing witnesses but when it comes to what they heard, they all pretty much agree on that.

Consumer Behavior

Back when gas prices were high and the great recession was beginning, a story in New Times Magazine told of how America’s love affair with the automobile was over. Car sales were in the tank and the United States had to bailout General Motors.

If you were an auto dealer advertising on the radio, you probably were telling your account executive how their radio station wasn’t working.

Fast-forward to 2015 and auto/truck sales just recorded their best year ever in a single year.  Oh and it just so happens that gas prices plummeted and the great recession was mostly over.

If you were an auto dealer advertising on the radio, you probably were telling your account executive their rates were too high and you didn’t need to advertise as cars were flying off the lot.

We Buy With Our Emotions

People buy on emotion and then justify their purchase with logic. That’s never going to change. People buy stuff to make themselves feel good.

Google Analytics measures the activity in the action channel of marketing. It doesn’t measure what got people all emotionally fired up in the first place.

Google’s Getting Your Credit

When I started selling radio advertising, it was long before the internet and Google. Back then when we advertised something for a retailer on the radio, people would come in and say they read about the item in the newspaper.

History doesn’t repeat but it rhymes and so today the newspaper has been replaced by Google search. Now with the free Google Analytics tool, retailers and ad agencies can measure the power of their “digital marketing” and show you how their SEO worked magic. Except the reason anyone did the search in the first place was because they heard about it on the radio.

Radio & Rodney

Which brings me back to where I started, Radio & Rodney “don’t get no respect.”

The Question You Should Be Asking

Samuel Scott says in his TechCrunch article that the question you should be asking is this:

“How would you market yourself if the Internet didn’t exist?

Answer that, and it’ll help your online marketing too.”


Filed under Education, Mentor, Radio, Sales, Uncategorized

16 responses to “Radio Creates Traffic

  1. “Word of Mouth” has been around FOREVER! And, just because soon to be 100 year old radio is no longer considered a shiny new object, it’s being “pooh-poohed” by the less informed. Admittedly, much of commercial radio has fallen asleep and missing big dollar opportunities. Non-comms have the content. It’s time to refresh & stir up our Broadcast Cauldron. Great words, presentation, emotion and skilled production have lasting impact. Google has put encyclopedia’s on the terminal shelf. But, as long as people have ears, hearts and minds, the sky’s the limit for RADIO fresh air. DT, Thanks again for the Sunday Sign On! Clark

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Why Doesn't Radio Get Any Respect? - Radio Ink

  3. Dick:

    There are a number of items above that can be contested. Let me concentrate on just four of your sentences: “The Great Oz wasn’t as great as the people in the Emerald City made him out to be. But the wizard was very good at distraction.”

    Relative to Google Analytics let’s look at “It created a whole new bunch of buckets to measure people’s online marketing effectiveness. Except it really doesn’t tell you what you really need to know and that is WHY things happened.”

    Your first assumption is based on people who look at the Wizard but don’t know what it is that he’s doing. They just see a bells and whistles. Not knowing which to pull, or in which sequence they need to be pulled curtails their understanding of what’s being done. Lacking this knowledge makes it easy to say “it’s a scam.”

    I assure you, having used Google Analytics since its introduction – and knowing how to place the code, write landing pages, do A/B and Multi-variant Testing, etc – once you get the knowledge there is plenty of data to guide marketers. Those who claim not simply don’t understand how deep this data dive goes.

    As to the second, the “new buckets,” or how it really doesn’t tell you “why things happen,” A non-medical person can’t explain why a person gets a fever or suffers from stomach pain. They simple lack the knowledge to analyze. Same with data analysis. To claim you cannot tell what’s happening when an online page is properly coded – or a radio campaign is pointing to an online landing page that uses any testing sequencing – is incorrect.

    I’ve worked both side of this fence; creating more than 10,000 radio and television commercials and supervising close to $2 million in online ad buys. Having decades of code writing knowledge to work with, I assure you we can tell what works, or what doesn’t.

    If you’re not familiar with the details, as are most all in radio, it’s similar to looking at hieroglyphics. It will always appear as distraction to the uninformed.

    More ad dollars are flowing to digital not because of bells and whistles, but because more media buyers are becoming familiar with how to use analytics beyond a basic analysis (which tells you nothing).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Doug

    This reminds me of my days as a radio sales rep and selling agains’t the Yellow Pages. Clients would say they “must be in the YP because it works!” Of course they were asking customers who called the business where they heard of them and the customer, looking at the YP in front of them to get the number, would say the YP…thus the YP got all the credit for bringing in that customer. Never mind that the customer had likely been introduced to the business via another advertising message well before they were in the buying cycle (radio, TV, outdoor, direct mail, ect), it was the media credit given at the point of sale that received the ROI. I understand the analytics provided by digital, and the trackability (is that a word?), but what digital doesn’t provide is a big picture view of what drove the person to search for that product/service in the first place….just like the YP example above. I don’t believe in one magic bullet that is the be all/end all of driving business. Instead, advertising is a puzzle with multiple pieces that must fit together and play off each media’s strength as a customer moves through the buying cycle. In radio, the inclusion of phone numbers and addresses are a waste of time and ad space as 99.99% of people who hear an ad won’t remember the information anyway….however the ad, if done correctly, can get the wheels in motion regarding a purchase. When its time to buy those same people will go online to purchase or get the contact information they need to make the purchase, thus getting the credit for that buyer.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. spotmagicsolis

    look, radio will have to diversify with it’s content–eventually. That’s why everyone thinks podcasts are so bitchen. But the two shall meet somewhere in the middle and be delivered digitally. It all has to move to digital delivery for the sponsors. It may not be before I retire but I’m ready if if that’s the scenario.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on in reserve and commented:
    Never put all your eggs in Google’s basket.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CG:

      Glad you responded in this manner.

      To suggest that, digitally, anyone should put all eggs in the Google basket is crazy; there are hundreds of options which, more to my point, people who don’t know digital don’t know about.

      *) I read the article you suggest above last week. I suggest you read the comments below it.
      *) Are you aware the author is affiliated with a GA competitor that offers “Marketing Analytics Software for Search, Links, Social, and Brand”?

      Per Doug’s comment, “…but what digital doesn’t provide is a big picture view of what drove the person to search for that product/service in the first place…” More and more, people are researching prior to to purchase. That’s not just search, but also reading relative specific content.

      The search-to-content-to sales connection is demonstrated here:

      We don’t need to discuss the changing auto dashboard and it’s downside to broadcast.

      When you know digital’s capability you are never operating with only a hammer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ken, great piece you wrote and shared.

        In it you wrote:”Radio advertising is effective. No argument when it’s done well. There’s a big argument, though, on how often that occurs.”

        Here in Bowling Green, we have some of the best local radio operators that serve up advertising for local businesses that is like listening to the ads submitted for a Mercury Award.

        The breaks are as exciting to listen to as the music, jingles and promotions.

        Maybe I’m spoiled by being surrounded by great live & local radio.



  7. Dick:

    You don’t make as many broadcast commercials as I have and not realize that they work, when done well. I’m glad you live in a market where that’s a common occurrence.

    Now, let’s include the next words I wrote: “…there has not been much improvement within all of radio – on the programming or advertising side – because much of what was done when the fax machine was introduced is still being done today (with fewer people).”

    Having a production director responsible for 2-6 stations makes creating quality commercial consistently impossible. Good creative is time consuming to produce, with rewriting of copy multiple times required. That both of these are lacking in the industry today is no secret; it’s just kept hidden until those commercials hit the air – at least, in the markets I’ve been exposed to.


    • Our two rated radio stations here in Bowling Green are LIVE & LOCAL all day long. One station has a two person morning show and the other a three person morning show.

      We actually have their production team in every year to do a session at the radio talent institute.

      This year we also had their VP of Creative in – he writes original music for use behind the commercials.

      The company’s mantra is “We lead with creative.” And they do!

      So yes, I know the consolidator markets where a group of six stations has only 9 people working there and only a single announcer in the building. But let me tell you, that’s not how radio is working in smaller markets.

      If you want to see another example, check out WKDZ in Cadiz, KY. They have an enormous staff for this very small radio market.


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