Using TV and radio to your advantage

   This past election, I’ve learned first-hand the challenges of marketing by committee. The candidate wanted to do television ads, and everyone in the group offered a different visualization of what they should be like. At one point, there were six completely different commercials offered up, and the producer was ready to walk away from the chaos. At last, the candidate thanked everyone for their efforts and chose her own ad.
   She knew her product better than anyone, and came across on the television as sincere and likeable because she felt comfortable with it. It turned out much better than any of the suggestions we had come up with as a group.
   Television and radio are different advertising mediums than print. They require thought and they cost more. They can be extremely effective if done well, and just annoy people if they are not. I’ve had a lot of experience with both, and I’m married to the Comcast TV ad guy! Here are the tips I offer to clients and students on the subject.

Tips for Both Mediums
   1) Do your marketing plan first – so you know whom you’re selling to and how much you are going to spend.
   2) Purchase only those stations that fit the demographic of your target customer, not the ones that are cheapest or have the nicest salespeople.
   3) Do NOT buy a station just because you listen to it or watch it all the time. It must fit into what your customers listen to and watch!
   4) Stay within your marketing plan budget. Don’t get carried away with “special deals” or you may find yourself unable to pay the bill later.
   5) Be nice to the salespeople. Get the information, be honest about your marketing goals, and if you aren’t interested, tell them why. By asking questions, you will educate yourself and not miss out on what might be a good opportunity.
   6) No matter what medium you use, you cannot put all your money and effort into just one and have an effective campaign. A good marketing plan will utilize a mix of mediums and it may change from year to year.

TV Tips
   1) Do your research-ask the salespeople to give you statistics on who watches what and when. They have it down to a science and can tell you the gender, age, economic status and lots of other great stuff.
   2) Find a good production company. The biggest expense in the TV ad will be filming the commercial. Often the stations or cable sales offices have their own people. Two of my favorites are Max at Hand Crank Films and James at Comcast Spotlight. There are others in town. Ask to see their work before deciding.
   3) Communicate your needs. Sit down with the person producing the commercial and make sure you understand each other’s ideas and concepts before filming.
   4) Use a good writer. Don’t write it yourself unless you know what you’re doing. It will come off as unprofessional and lose the audience.
   5) Listen to advice! The people who do commercials for a living know quite a lot about it. Since you’re paying for it, they’ll do whatever you want, but it may not necessarily be the best that could have been done. The worst commercials I’ve ever seen were ones where the client insisted it be done a certain way.
   6) Get a copy of the schedule that your ad will run so you can occasionally monitor it.

Radio Tips
   1) Get the station demographics. Find out how many people listen and when. Ask to see their statistics on who listens to them. Each station has a different demographic.
   2) Read your ad aloud to make sure it works smoothly. Spoken and written words are different animals. Time it carefully so it’s not rushed into the 30 seconds you have.
   3) Make sure someone with a pleasant voice (not necessarily a “radio”voice), reads your ad in the recording studio. Sometimes business owners are an excellent announcer choice, and sometimes you need to hire someone else. If the station has one person who always does the ads, use a person less familiar to the listeners. It will stand out more from the crowd.
   4) Listen to the station. Make sure your ad is running when it is supposed to be. Check that it sounds like it’s supposed to. If the DJs like to promote things on the air, send them fun ideas to talk about that dovetail with your ads.

Taimi Dunn Gorman is the founder of the Colophon Café and Doggie Diner. She teaches seminars at WCC and for the Small Business Development Center, and does marketing consulting and publicity. She may be reached through



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