Q&A on Radio Advertising with Heather Brady

By Brian Hart

Radio advertising is an intriguing option for advisors who want to promote their brands to a targeted market or listenership. To explore radio’s advantages for financial advisors, I called upon Heather Brady, Account Executive  at iHeartMedia.

Heather pulls community organizations together to support mutually beneficial efforts, and frequently join clients’ marketing teams to create engaging, fun and powerful campaigns. She is able to incorporate signature events sponsorship, charity sponsorships, radio-thons, digital and streaming content, online contests and so much more into radio campaigns in order to have the best and most integrated outreach possible.

I reached out to Heather to find out more about how financial advisors can effectively use radio advertising. Here’s what she had to say…

Brian Hart: What are the three most common misconceptions about radio advertising?

Heather Brady:  One of the biggest misconceptions is the belief that people use digital apps to listen to music more than they listen to broadcast radio.  Fact is  93 percent of Americans listen to broadcast radio each week — and today digital listening accounts for about only 10 percent of all “radio” listening — but of course we believe in the future growth of digital, and that’s why we have iHeartRadio, another way to extend our stations and the stations of our iHeartRadio partners everywhere the listeners are. Digital listening is additive for our industry.

Heather BradyMany of us have utilized everything from CDs and cassette tapes, to online playlists and the radio.  Personal playlist is a category of music listening that has always been around.  This is a popular way to listen to music because every music fan has a favorite artist or genre of music, and these often vary from time to time based on their mood.  In today’s digital world digital services such as Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio’s Custom Station feature and other online music options have become primary sources of personal playlists.  Despite this, , radio is and always will be its own category and it will always have a solid loyal audience, especially local radio.   Local radio includes everything spanning from local sports, weather, traffic updates, events and the latest in business.  Through local radio, you have a sense of interaction with and connection to your hometown that you don’t receive through alternative listening options, and it continues to draw people to it.

Another large misconception is that radio advertising is expensive.   The old saying is true— it takes money to make money.  This will be the case with any type of advertising; the more you commit financially, the faster you will see your return on investment.  However, the keys to success are consistency, clear call to action messaging and branding.  Radio campaigns can be customized to your budget.  Neilson states in multiple articles that radio has an average ROI of 6 to 1, meaning for every $1 you invest, you will make $6.   This is much higher than other forms of advertising.

Additionally, radio’s messaging can be timely and changed often because there is no design time required, unlike television and print advertising.   If you wanted to update listeners about the stock market and how it impacts their lives, the message could be crafted and up and running much more quickly than if you tried to pull together a TV spot or print ad.   

Also important to note: The Nielsen Q3 Comparable Metrics Report shows that the shift away from television is continuing among audiences 18+ — and in particular, television continues to lose ground with the key Millennial audience.  Today, radio delivers 93% weekly reach for consumers 18+, while television viewership now reaches just 85%.  And TV’s weekly reach among Millennials has fallen to 73% — third below broadcast radio at 92% and smartphones at 84%.

Also, it’s important to remember that radio stations offer much more opportunities for advertising than just commercials.  To maximize your campaign’s effectiveness, you can select from a range of station website banner ads, floating ads, streaming ads, endorsements, traffic and weather sponsorships, event title sponsorships or local charity sponsorships.

The third most common misconception is that digital is where the ad dollars need to go.  While utilizing digital advertising is important, think about what is actually driving your target audience to search the internet.

More often than not, it’s because of a radio ad or a friend’s recommendation. Almost all radio campaigns drive listeners to visit a website or even a Facebook page, and using radio to drive internet searches helps to block competition.  Rather than searching “Financial Planner in Reading, Pa.,” a search from a listener who heard your radio ads would be more like, “[Your company name] Financial planner in Reading, Pa.”  Assuming you have a good SEO campaign going and already have a sufficient digital footprint, the search results will show more of your content and less of your close competitors.  In the end, digital and radio work phenomenally together.

Beasley Media Group in Las Vegas says of radio and digital, “Studies show over and over again that the combined campaign can deliver 20 to 40 percent more than doing them alone or separately. Radio takes the branding and captive audience and then directs them through digital to take an action, make a call, fill out a form, download a code or coupon, and a whole lot of other actions.”

BH: Financial advisors tend to run very busy schedules. What type of time commitment does radio advertising require?

HB: At iHeartMedia in particular, we have in-house creative teams ready to do all the work for clients who would like to radio advertise.  All we need is approval on the spots prior to running them.  Of course, time constraints and schedules are different for everyone, so there are additional options.  I would recommend a campaign with an on-air personality. This person would become your own personal brand ambassador. This method doesn’t involve any additional time from the advertiser.

Generally, advertisers have to work with a different radio representative for each station they are interesting in advertising on. At iHeartMedia we have one point of contact and run in every market across the United States, so we eliminate the extra hassle of having too many people deal with one advertisement. This helps keep campaign consistency while including local market content, and it also streamlines your communication and increases your effectiveness.  In addition what sets iHeartMedia apart from other offerings is that we are a multiplatform media company and we’re able to offer advertisers a variety of different options to reach consumers — including on air, online, through social media contests, promotions, personality endorsements, events – like the iHeartRadio Music Festival and our Jingle Ball events across the country, etc.

BH: How can a financial advisor get on air?

HB:  There are many different ways! If time allows for it, a financial advisor could record his or her own commercials. They could also work with a station to craft a “Weekly Tips” segment, positioning the financial advisor as the industry expert in the market.  Another option would be to be interviewed by a personality during a live show.   

Each station’s format is different, so as a financial advisor it’s important to consider who the target audience is first. Once there is an audience in mind, you can more accurately determine which format and method would be most effective in connecting to that audience.

There is an aspect of radio that often gets overlooked, and that is the personal pride a customer can feel when they hear their company, or in this case their financial advisor, on the air.  Using a radio campaign is another great way to increase customer satisfaction, credibility and customer loyalty, in addition to an increase in word-of-mouth referrals.

BH:  How do you measure the ROI on a radio campaign?

HB: ROI Expectations and overall marketing goals vary by campaign. Each unique advertiser has different goals and objectives, the key is to partner together to determine goals, tracking and ROI measurement tools.

Diving deeper into your ROI tracking question— I, personally, always want to know what my client’s monthly, annual and marketing goals are so that I can better assist them in reaching and surpassing those goals.  I meet bi-weekly with most of my clients to monitor success, content, and campaign messaging, and I generally act as an extension of their marketing department. As I mentioned above, every radio ad directs listeners to a website or a Facebook page, but radio is the original social medium— local personalities that you can interact with, sharing stories relevant to your area, and always on the go with you.  Social media can also really speed up communication with radio as well; rather than calling a station to request a song you want to hear, you can send a Facebook message or a Tweet to the personality on-air at the time.

Social media has increased the power of radio and radio personalities, so we can use some of the same methods to track them.

I typically use Facebook Growth and Google Analytics to show increased website traffic and social media followers as ROI monitors, combined with monitoring and analyzing any overall increase in business for the client.

BH:  What’s the best way to get started?

HB:  You want to get in touch with a radio account executive.  If you don’t already have an iHeartMedia Account Executive that you are working with, call or email me.  There are three questions I always ask to create the best starting point for advertising, and having a general idea of your answers is a great way to start preparing for a radio campaign.

First, come up with a target audience including age, gender and geographic location.  Second, you should have an idea of what your growth goals are for the remainder of the year.  Lastly, you should be aware of your budget.  These three aspects are crucial in starting an effective campaign, and most account executives will be glad to work through finding these answers with you.

Heather Brady is an Account Executive at iHeartMedia, and can be reached at heatherbrady@iheartmedia.com.

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