As the Director of Client Relations here at Strategic Media, marketers often ask me, “What’s the best time of the year to launch a new product or service on the radio?” It’s a great question, and it’s also one that can be tricky to answer because it really depends on when you’re prepared to test.
In our post entitled Understanding Fourth Quarter Hazards to Maximize Profit and Strategic Advantage we spoke about Q1 being a strong performer because of its excellent radio advertising rates and media avails. In this case, diving deep into your messaging and demographics is critical in Q3 and Q4 in order to set the stage for a strong opening to the following year.
There are different advantages for beginning testing at various points in the year. For instance, if your marketing plan forecasts leveraging the power of radio in Q1, then it is pivotal to begin testing in Q3. In fact, Q3 is the perfect time to plan and prepare to launch a new product or service on the radio.
The fact that people aren’t at home as often can be a strong advantage for a Q3 radio advertising test. Generally speaking, people don’t bring their TVs with them to the beach or on a cookout or to a campground, but they do tend to bring their radios or other streaming audio devices. Most people also bring along an iPad or do-dad, which means your potential customers have direct access to make a purchase from the comfort of a lounge chair or picnic table.
By August, people are starting to get back to their regular routines. We all remember that “back to school” feeling at the end of summer. It’s a time when people are used to buying things, and those radio commercials they’ve been hearing all summer are now front of mind when making purchase-choices.
And here’s what Q3 has that other quarters don’t: the most amount of uninterrupted media weeks. You see, radio advertising is impacted by a lot of variables – Q4, for instance, is flush with the political season, TV sweeps and holidays. Unlike other times of the year, Q3 has a limited number of these “distractions.” You’ll also have access to good media avails because so many other advertisers pull back in Q3, thinking that they should be following TV’s seasonal calendar.
The bottom line is that by starting your radio test during Q3, your radio agency can help you make the most of those key learnings in order to lay the groundwork for a strong end to the quarter and an aggressive rollout in Q4 and all of the advantages of being ready for the opportunities in Q1.