Here’s More Ammo For Radio’s Sales Soldiers


Add Tom Meyer, CEO of Local Ad Recall, to the list of individuals the radio industry can count on for data and insight that reflects the power of advertising on AM and FM stations and how to create effective ads.

In the latest pro-radio blog offered by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One, Meyer discussed the impact of radio advertising from radio ad recall and effectiveness studies conducted by his research company.

After fielding 27 local ad recall studies with 8,377 consumers, Meyer uncovered several key insights about the strengths of radio advertisements.

He offered some key strategies as to how radio can drive sales. Among his suggestions:

  • Build brand awareness to cultivate a reputation. For important categories like automotive, home improvement, financial planning, and legal services, reputation is cited by consumers as the most important attribute.

“Consumers cite reputation as the most important attribute for major car, health, home improvement, financial planning, and legal service decisions,” he says. “Erwin Ephron, father of modern media planning, described it best when he said the job of advertising is to remind people of the brands they know when they need to make a purchase.”

  • Use AM/FM radio to build unaided awareness. Brands need to be memorable. On average, those advertising on the radio experience unaided recall five times greater than those who are not on the air.

“To measure unaided recall, we ask consumers to name retailers they know in a category without giving them any help,” Meyer said. “These are the brands consumers consider when they are ready to purchase products. Brands advertising on radio experience an average unaided recall five times greater than those not advertising on radio.”

  • Devote more ad time to brand building, less to price or item. National brands should avoid getting caught up in promotions, price cuts, or item-specific messaging and instead use time to reinforce their brand images.

“In a sample study, we looked at car dealers and their major marketing challenge,” Meyer said. “They sell car brands that are already made famous and well known by billions spent in national ads instead of their own local brand. We listened to auto dealer ads from around the country and found on average, only 21% of the ad time is devoted to building the brand of the dealer. 79% goes to call to action.”

  • Find out what matters to consumers and tailor copy accordingly. Focus copy on what’s important to listeners in order to influence their purchase decisions.

“We’ve listened to dozens of car dealer ads and found they are all the same,” Meyer said. “But, depending on the market, there are huge differences in what’s important to new car buyers, even between station audiences in the same market. According to the Advertising Research Foundation, 75% of ROI is based on the creative.”

  • Have real people tell their story about your brand. Consumers lean forward and engage when a real person starts telling a story.

Meyer said, “Face it, most ads sound like ads. Consumers are growing less interested in what a brand has to say about themselves and more interested in what their consumers have to say.”

  • Use radio personality endorsements to develop listener trust.


“Our studies have shown listeners strongly consider radio personalities to be trusted friends,” Meyer said. “After reputation, 45% of listeners consider recommendation and referral from a trusted friend in deciding on an advertiser.”