July 31, 2006
What Do You Think You Know - About Radio Advertising?
Seth Godin's recent post about the characteristics of what people believe to be true reminded me of a quote I recently heard that immediately stuck with me for its applicability to many areas of human existence, not the least of which is radio advertising. (I apologize to the author of this quote as I didn't catch the name.)
"It's not just what we don't know that hurts us. It's also what we think we know that isn't true."
This fact becomes apparent at times in radio advertising. You think you know who the target customer is, or what appeal is the "right" one. So we test that message targeted at those customers -- and it bombs. What have we learned? That the campaign won't work? No, only that what we tested didn't work.
That's where a scientific approach to testing methodology comes in. One rule of disciplined testing in direct response radio advertising is to ask "what are my assumptions". That feeds into the first phase of developing a successful direct response radio advertising campaign - the identification of the alternatives that may work. Avoid being ruled by your assumptions and compile the possibilities with an open mind. Avoid being "a focus group of one" because one is too small a sample size from which to draw reliable conclusions. Only after the most likely alternatives are identified can a testing plan be developed.
But sometimes the disciplined testing process gets derailed. The culprits often stem from being in too much of a hurry, or assuming one way is right because the competitors are doing it that way, or because classic marketing doctrine says it is so. Phooey. If you want to build a successful campaign, you can't take shortcuts. Test it. Human beings (i.e. your customers) are too variable to allow for short cuts. Take advantage of a huge benefit of direct response radio advertising - the combination of the ability to target with the ability to track and measure response and profitability of each individual media buy.
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Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions, Dan Ariely
Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell
Made to Stick, Heath & Heath
The Power of Persuasion, Robert Levine
Influence: Science & Practice, Cialdini
Words That Work, Frank Lutz
My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising, Claude C. Hopkins
Or Your Money Back, Alvin Eicoff
Being Direct, Lester Wunderman