The 10 Questions Asked by Every Successful Direct Response Radio Advertising Campaign

Written By

SMI Staff

Published On

Thursday, Mar 13
number

Successful radio advertising campaigns require that certain fundamental pieces of information about the product (or service), customers, and business be clearly understood by everyone involved in the effort. Sales, marketing, customer service and the radio advertising agency should all have the chance to provide input from their perspective, and all of these groups should be operating with the same set of complete information.

Without this foundation of common understanding, the chances of your radio advertising campaign being successful are diminished. Why? Because you slip from a methodical, disciplined approach to building your business profitably with direct response radio advertising to a more haphazard and risky approach that relies on luck. Successful direct response radio advertisers earn their way to great wealth by taking a disciplined approach. The questions we’ll outline below are to be answered as part of just such a disciplined approach and they are meant to be addressed during the pre-launch phase of building your radio advertising campaign.

In many respects, building a successful direct response radio advertising campaign requires a mentality akin to that of a researcher. Researchers uncover knowledge about a particular topic. The first step in research is identifying the problem you are trying to solve. In the case of direct response radio advertising, you are trying to solve the following “problem(s)”:

  • Creative: which advertising appeals will result in the highest number of most qualified leads? 
  • Media: which target audiences are most responsive to the product’s advertising appeals?

Answering these questions will minimize your media CPO, thereby maximizing your radio advertising (and overall business) profitability.

The list of questions that follows is aimed at guiding any potential radio advertiser down the road to solving the above “problems”. The answers to these questions are the input into creating and testing a hypothesis (again, thinking like a researcher) about which combination of radio advertising appeals and radio media targeting will result in the most profitable radio advertising campaign.

The 10 Key Questions

Note: we’ll use the word “product”, however the following thought process is also applied to services, events, and other items that are promoted in direct response radio advertising campaigns.

Product Questions:

1. What benefits does the product provide to its users? What problems does it solve? In what ways does the product make the user’s life better? Be sure to identify key claims that can legally be made about the degree of benefits to the product user.

2. How does the product work? It is important to note that this is input information only. One of the biggest mistakes in creating advertising of any type is an over-emphasis on features and not benefits. Discussing how the product works can lead advertisers astray, into the world of the “neat” factor and out of the world of what matters to your target customers – what the product does for them.

3. How is the product different? Be sure to compare the product to alternatives or substitutes, as well as to competing products. Also include information about any patents, trademarks or clinical test results.

4. What offers may be used in the radio advertisement? For example, is there a free trial, free shipping, or a bonus quantity with purchase?

5. What are the distribution channel(s) that will be used for the product? (Web, retail, direct)

6. Are customer testimonials, expert endorsements, or a corporate spokesperson available for use in the radio ad?

Customer Questions:

Answering the following questions requires at least some customer research. It may be primary research (for example, conducting a qualitative focus group or a quantitative survey), or secondary research (reviewing qualitative or quantitative research compiled by others about your product category that you can apply to your specific situation). Don’t overlook your current customer base and results from prior tests as a source of valuable customer information, but be aware that this data will not be randomly collected (i.e. to some degree your current customers will be a reflection of the advertising that brought them in). In any case, research will not spell out the exact appeals that will be successful for your specific direct response radio advertising campaign, which is why in-market testing occurs in the next phase.

7. Who is the target consumer segment? Describe them in terms of age, sex, socioeconomic, demographic, geographic, or other relevant dimensions.

8. What are the strongest motivations for this customer segment to buy this type or class of product? What does the customer hope to gain by purchasing, and what loss would the customer avoid by purchasing?

9. What objections or excuses might the customer use to delay or avoid buying the product? What is the answer to each of the objections or excuses?

Business Question:

10. How will you measure success? This a very important question and the one most often unanswered going into the testing phase. Ideally, you will know exactly what media CPO (cost per order) is required for you to achieve break-even profitability. Armed with this information, you’ll have a context with which to view the results of advertising tests. Without it, you are in danger of either pulling the plug on a profitable campaign or rolling out an unprofitable campaign. 

Conclusion

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready for the next step. It’s time to pull together a well-rationed hypothesis about which set of appeals, distilled into a creative approach that ultimately ends up as a radio ad, is likely to work the best. This is a challenging phase because it entails dealing with a large amount of information and a large number of alternatives. Additionally, identifying appeals is only the first step – articulating those appeals is also very important and nuanced. Most often your radio advertising agency will conduct this exercise because they’re experienced in dealing with these challenges, but it should be iterative with the client team.

Almost always it turns out that more than one creative approach seems to make strong sense. This is appropriate because you will ultimately test a minimum of two approaches (two different radio ads) since what we are trying to learn is which approach works best. As this is a comparative exercise, it requires comparing two ads. 

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Successful radio advertising campaigns require that certain fundamental pieces of information about the product (or service), customers, and business be clearly understood by everyone involved in the effort. Sales, marketing, customer service and the radio advertising agency should all have the chance to provide input from their perspective, and all of these groups should be operating with the same set of complete information.

Without this foundation of common understanding, the chances of your radio advertising campaign being successful are diminished. Why? Because you slip from a methodical, disciplined approach to building your business profitably with direct response radio advertising to a more haphazard and risky approach that relies on luck. Successful direct response radio advertisers earn their way to great wealth by taking a disciplined approach. The questions we’ll outline below are to be answered as part of just such a disciplined approach and they are meant to be addressed during the pre-launch phase of building your radio advertising campaign.

In many respects, building a successful direct response radio advertising campaign requires a mentality akin to that of a researcher. Researchers uncover knowledge about a particular topic. The first step in research is identifying the problem you are trying to solve. In the case of direct response radio advertising, you are trying to solve the following “problem(s)”:

  • Creative: which advertising appeals will result in the highest number of most qualified leads? 
  • Media: which target audiences are most responsive to the product’s advertising appeals?

Answering these questions will minimize your media CPO, thereby maximizing your radio advertising (and overall business) profitability.

The list of questions that follows is aimed at guiding any potential radio advertiser down the road to solving the above “problems”. The answers to these questions are the input into creating and testing a hypothesis (again, thinking like a researcher) about which combination of radio advertising appeals and radio media targeting will result in the most profitable radio advertising campaign.

The 10 Key Questions

Note: we’ll use the word “product”, however the following thought process is also applied to services, events, and other items that are promoted in direct response radio advertising campaigns.

Product Questions:

1. What benefits does the product provide to its users? What problems does it solve? In what ways does the product make the user’s life better? Be sure to identify key claims that can legally be made about the degree of benefits to the product user.

2. How does the product work? It is important to note that this is input information only. One of the biggest mistakes in creating advertising of any type is an over-emphasis on features and not benefits. Discussing how the product works can lead advertisers astray, into the world of the “neat” factor and out of the world of what matters to your target customers – what the product does for them.

3. How is the product different? Be sure to compare the product to alternatives or substitutes, as well as to competing products. Also include information about any patents, trademarks or clinical test results.

4. What offers may be used in the radio advertisement? For example, is there a free trial, free shipping, or a bonus quantity with purchase?

5. What are the distribution channel(s) that will be used for the product? (Web, retail, direct)

6. Are customer testimonials, expert endorsements, or a corporate spokesperson available for use in the radio ad?

Customer Questions:

Answering the following questions requires at least some customer research. It may be primary research (for example, conducting a qualitative focus group or a quantitative survey), or secondary research (reviewing qualitative or quantitative research compiled by others about your product category that you can apply to your specific situation). Don’t overlook your current customer base and results from prior tests as a source of valuable customer information, but be aware that this data will not be randomly collected (i.e. to some degree your current customers will be a reflection of the advertising that brought them in). In any case, research will not spell out the exact appeals that will be successful for your specific direct response radio advertising campaign, which is why in-market testing occurs in the next phase.

7. Who is the target consumer segment? Describe them in terms of age, sex, socioeconomic, demographic, geographic, or other relevant dimensions.

8. What are the strongest motivations for this customer segment to buy this type or class of product? What does the customer hope to gain by purchasing, and what loss would the customer avoid by purchasing?

9. What objections or excuses might the customer use to delay or avoid buying the product? What is the answer to each of the objections or excuses?

Business Question:

10. How will you measure success? This a very important question and the one most often unanswered going into the testing phase. Ideally, you will know exactly what media CPO (cost per order) is required for you to achieve break-even profitability. Armed with this information, you’ll have a context with which to view the results of advertising tests. Without it, you are in danger of either pulling the plug on a profitable campaign or rolling out an unprofitable campaign. 

Conclusion

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready for the next step. It’s time to pull together a well-rationed hypothesis about which set of appeals, distilled into a creative approach that ultimately ends up as a radio ad, is likely to work the best. This is a challenging phase because it entails dealing with a large amount of information and a large number of alternatives. Additionally, identifying appeals is only the first step – articulating those appeals is also very important and nuanced. Most often your radio advertising agency will conduct this exercise because they’re experienced in dealing with these challenges, but it should be iterative with the client team.

Almost always it turns out that more than one creative approach seems to make strong sense. This is appropriate because you will ultimately test a minimum of two approaches (two different radio ads) since what we are trying to learn is which approach works best. As this is a comparative exercise, it requires comparing two ads. 

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[/et_pb_row]
[/et_pb_column]

When it comes to audience targeting, nimbleness, and reach–the evidence is clear: audio advertising is a wise investment.  

That being said, marketing managers are more often forced to justify ad spend with ever increasing returns on investment. Budget and talent constraints–no matter how remarkable your product or service is–often put your brand at a disadvantage when it comes to breaking through the noise and seeing any meaningful ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) so relying on great creative alone is not enough. A multifaceted approach is paramount.

In order to launch, scale, and optimize a campaign for success, strategizing where and when your ad is heard is critical.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We have the Expert Infastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation. 

 

 

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

Collaboration Yields Results

Senior Media Buyer, Pam Wolfgram underscores the importance of our industry relationships:  

“Our media partners are exactly that: partners. They have a vested interest in helping us help our clients; it means more business! Even if they have to take it on the chin here and there for a client’s success–and they do–they know they’ll make it up in the long game, as we will send them every schedule that makes sense down the road. They want to work hard for us and for our clients.

As an example, we recently orchestrated a massive creative change affecting over 600 stations and it had to go off without a hitch, as “hitches” are mistakes that lead not only to credits being taken, but also to skewed results that make a test difficult to read. I reached out to every rep impacted by the change to express the importance of the test and walked away feeling completely at ease knowing that they were going to get with their traffic people and watch over the test like hawks. A little extra communication goes a long way!” 

All of SMI’s media buyers, researchers, and strategists have something in common: they know firsthand the value of respectful dialogue and perseverance. 

The motto of our Media team? 

There's always a workable solution to get meaningful return on ad spend. 

If you’re ready to invest more wisely in your audio advertising, start a conversation with us today! 

This is part one of SMI’s three-part series called Give Your Brand a Voice. Stay tuned for our next article focused on Creative! 

    facebook
    twitter
    linkedin
[/et_pb_section][/et_pb_post_content]
[/et_pb_row]
[/et_pb_column]

When it comes to audience targeting, nimbleness, and reach–the evidence is clear: audio advertising is a wise investment.  

That being said, marketing managers are more often forced to justify ad spend with ever increasing returns on investment. Budget and talent constraints–no matter how remarkable your product or service is–often put your brand at a disadvantage when it comes to breaking through the noise and seeing any meaningful ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) so relying on great creative alone is not enough. A multifaceted approach is paramount.

In order to launch, scale, and optimize a campaign for success, strategizing where and when your ad is heard is critical.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We have the Expert Infastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation. 

 

 

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

Collaboration Yields Results

Senior Media Buyer, Pam Wolfgram underscores the importance of our industry relationships:  

“Our media partners are exactly that: partners. They have a vested interest in helping us help our clients; it means more business! Even if they have to take it on the chin here and there for a client’s success–and they do–they know they’ll make it up in the long game, as we will send them every schedule that makes sense down the road. They want to work hard for us and for our clients.

As an example, we recently orchestrated a massive creative change affecting over 600 stations and it had to go off without a hitch, as “hitches” are mistakes that lead not only to credits being taken, but also to skewed results that make a test difficult to read. I reached out to every rep impacted by the change to express the importance of the test and walked away feeling completely at ease knowing that they were going to get with their traffic people and watch over the test like hawks. A little extra communication goes a long way!” 

All of SMI’s media buyers, researchers, and strategists have something in common: they know firsthand the value of respectful dialogue and perseverance. 

The motto of our Media team? 

There’s always a workable solution to get meaningful return on ad spend. 

If you’re ready to invest more wisely in your audio advertising, start a conversation with us today! 

This is part one of SMI’s three-part series called Give Your Brand a Voice. Stay tuned for our next article focused on Creative! 

    facebook
    twitter
    linkedin
[/et_pb_section]
[/et_pb_column]

When it comes to audience targeting, nimbleness, and reach–the evidence is clear: audio advertising is a wise investment.  

That being said, marketing managers are more often forced to justify ad spend with ever increasing returns on investment. Budget and talent constraints–no matter how remarkable your product or service is–often put your brand at a disadvantage when it comes to breaking through the noise and seeing any meaningful ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) so relying on great creative alone is not enough. A multifaceted approach is paramount.

facebook
twitter
linkedin
[/et_pb_social_media_follow][/et_pb_column]
In order to launch, scale, and optimize a campaign for success, strategizing where and when your ad is heard is critical.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We have the Expert Infastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation. 

 

 

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

Collaboration Yields Results

Senior Media Buyer, Pam Wolfgram underscores the importance of our industry relationships:  

“Our media partners are exactly that: partners. They have a vested interest in helping us help our clients; it means more business! Even if they have to take it on the chin here and there for a client’s success–and they do–they know they’ll make it up in the long game, as we will send them every schedule that makes sense down the road. They want to work hard for us and for our clients.

As an example, we recently orchestrated a massive creative change affecting over 600 stations and it had to go off without a hitch, as “hitches” are mistakes that lead not only to credits being taken, but also to skewed results that make a test difficult to read. I reached out to every rep impacted by the change to express the importance of the test and walked away feeling completely at ease knowing that they were going to get with their traffic people and watch over the test like hawks. A little extra communication goes a long way!” 

All of SMI’s media buyers, researchers, and strategists have something in common: they know firsthand the value of respectful dialogue and perseverance. 

The motto of our Media team? 

There’s always a workable solution to get meaningful return on ad spend. 

If you’re ready to invest more wisely in your audio advertising, start a conversation with us today! 

This is part one of SMI’s three-part series called Give Your Brand a Voice. Stay tuned for our next article focused on Creative! 

[/et_pb_column]

When it comes to audience targeting, nimbleness, and reach–the evidence is clear: audio advertising is a wise investment.  

That being said, marketing managers are more often forced to justify ad spend with ever increasing returns on investment. Budget and talent constraints–no matter how remarkable your product or service is–often put your brand at a disadvantage when it comes to breaking through the noise and seeing any meaningful ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) so relying on great creative alone is not enough. A multifaceted approach is paramount.

[/et_pb_column]
twitter
linkedin
In order to launch, scale, and optimize a campaign for success, strategizing where and when your ad is heard is critical.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

We Have the Expert Infrastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation.

A group of gears stacked on each other

We have the Expert Infastructure

In addition to SMI’s dedicated Creative and Analytics teams, our media buyers and strategists have deep industry relationships and format connections.  

Our Media team works in tandem with Client Services to understand the target demographics and geographical considerations alongside the short and long-term goals of our clients. Their combined expertise, in collaboration with our Analytics team, allows us to be vigilant in evaluating and communicating campaign performance in real time.  

Because our buyers and strategists have built and nurtured relationships with stations, agencies, and shows–we are also able to pivot precisely and aggressively if need be. Even in the days of such potent technology and automation, sometimes a format or rate adjustment simply comes down to the power of a well-handled telephone conversation. 

 

 

influencers streaming a podcast at college radio station

Collaboration Yields Results

Senior Media Buyer, Pam Wolfgram underscores the importance of our industry relationships:  

“Our media partners are exactly that: partners. They have a vested interest in helping us help our clients; it means more business! Even if they have to take it on the chin here and there for a client’s success–and they do–they know they’ll make it up in the long game, as we will send them every schedule that makes sense down the road. They want to work hard for us and for our clients.

As an example, we recently orchestrated a massive creative change affecting over 600 stations and it had to go off without a hitch, as “hitches” are mistakes that lead not only to credits being taken, but also to skewed results that make a test difficult to read. I reached out to every rep impacted by the change to express the importance of the test and walked away feeling completely at ease knowing that they were going to get with their traffic people and watch over the test like hawks. A little extra communication goes a long way!” 

All of SMI’s media buyers, researchers, and strategists have something in common: they know firsthand the value of respectful dialogue and perseverance. 

The motto of our Media team? 

There’s always a workable solution to get meaningful return on ad spend. 

If you’re ready to invest more wisely in your audio advertising, start a conversation with us today! 

This is part one of SMI’s three-part series called Give Your Brand a Voice. Stay tuned for our next article focused on Creative!