All posts by Duane Alverson

Bad Ads vs. Good Ads

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Duane Alverson

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions of this article do not necessarily reflect those of the MAB. Contact the MAB for information on the MAB’s official editorial policy.

By:  Duane Alverson, President
MacDonald Broadcasting Company (Saginaw & Lansing)

What’s the most important ingredient to the success of your advertising recipe?

Is it the platform you choose (i.e., television, radio, newspaper, billboards, print media, direct mail, digital or social media)? Or is it the amount of money you invest?

A few years back, I might have sided with one (or even both) of these arguments, because both are important elements to advertising success.

However, the more time I spend with Roy H. Williams and Sensory Logic, the more I am convinced that there is an ingredient far more critical than either medium or budget.

Advertising’s Not-So-Secret Sauce

Study after study have returned a perhaps surprising revelation: that messaging is truly the most important factor determining the success or failure of a marketing/advertising campaign.

In other words, what you say — along with how you say it — is crucial to winning the ad wars, no matter whether you advertise on television, the Internet or via direct mail…and regardless of the size of budget on the line.

Whether you’re attacking the market with a long-term branding campaign or short-term sales event, messaging is going to play a key role in the effectiveness of either approach.

Fine. But How?

So, what are the keys to crafting effective advertising messaging?

We at MacDonald Broadcasting have been fortunate to work with a third-party company by the name of Sensory Logic in hopes of improving the advertising messages of our clients.

We truly believe we can generate even more success for our advertisers by learning how to craft more effective radio commercials. Sensory Logic studies what works and what doesn’t every day, and they have shared their discoveries with us.

First and foremost, they tell us, “When writing a radio spot, being on-emotion is even more important than being on-message.” In other words, if you’re more focused on selling your product than appealing to the emotions of the listener, you’ve likely lost them.

Here are some other key points to keep in mind:

  • Know who you’re talking to, and create a “sense of membership” for them.
  • Keep your message close to home by reflecting the audience’s values.
  • Build a distinct, memorable personality for your brand.
  • Tell a compelling story that paints a mental picture.
  • Never lead with price. Always establish value before mentioning price.
  • Vary the pace and tone of your story, and avoid “bald spots.”
  • Sell hope…and a “branded solution.”

And don’t forget these two cardinal rules:

  • Always hook your audience in the first three seconds.
  • Try to use more than one voice, as only a small portion of single-voice radio spots are engaging to the listener.
Duane Alverson currently serves as President of MacDonald Broadcasting Company. Duane has been with MacDonald Broadcasting Company for 32 years serving in various sales leadership positions. He served as Chairman of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2012 and as President of the Michigan Jaycees in 1981-82. Duane resides in Saginaw, Michigan.
Reprinted with permission. 

How to Win a Customer Before they Google

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Duane Alverson

By:  Duane Alverson, President
MacDonald Broadcasting Company (Saginaw & Lansing)

In today’s world, consumers’ path to purchase almost always goes by way of a search engine. In fact, according to Forrester Research data, 71% of consumers begin their journeys by using a search engine to discover new products and services (initiation), and 74% report using a search engine for consideration and purchasing (research, comparison, transaction).

One of the questions we often hear from local business owners and advertising agencies is, “Does radio advertising drive online behavior?”

What Really Drives Online Behavior?

Results from a recent Sequent Partners research project answers this question.

Study highlights just released include the following revelations:

  • Radio generated an average of 29% lift in Google search activity.
  • Search engine usage as a result of radio advertising is greater on weekdays versus weekends.
  • Radio-driven search activity is higher during midday hours.
  • The quality of radio creative (messaging) has a direct impact on increased search behavior.

Now I don’t know about you, but I didn’t find anything about this astonishing.

For years, adding radio to complement another medium always created better outcomes — whether that other medium was newspaper, television or direct mail. Not even a casual observer should be surprised to learn it’s no different with digital media.

When you reach additional tens of thousands of consumers (mass media) instead of just a few hundred consumers (digital), of course it’s going to generate a positive lift in efficacy. Remember that if you are looking for a way to make your digital investment work better for you.

Note that search results were greater on weekdays versus weekends. Could it be because far more people listen to radio Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. than on weekends?

Also, midday hours were highest in radio-driven research. (Sorry, employers. There’s more search going on during the workday than you would ever want to know.)

And of course quality radio creative has a direct impact on increased search behavior. As much as compelling content drives engagement on the digital platform, it’s never been any different on radio…or any other platform, for that matter. Good messaging drives every communication platform.

Bottom Line…and Top-of-Mind

Bottom line: companies who have used broadcast media over the years to build a brand in the minds of consumers are always going to get better search engine results. Why? Because consumers buy from people they think of first and feel the best about.

How many people are doing business with your company has everything to do with how many consumers in your market think of our company first (awareness) and feel good about your business (trust) when they have a need for what you sell.

On the other hand, if you are not doing as much business as you think you should be doing, perhaps it’s because too many consumers are not thinking of your business when they have a need for the products or services you sell.

Winning the battle for the consumers mind before they have a need for your products and/or services (top of the funnel) has always been the path to winning the business category. Consumers just don’t like doing business with companies they never heard of and don’t feel good about. Would you pick a heart surgeon out of the yellow pages…one that you never heard of or had a great reputation?

If you think or have been convinced that the battle can be won just at the time of purchase (bottom of the funnel), do your own research on what happened to Pepsi and Procter & Gamble: two major firms still trying to recover from a sales slide few want to talk about. For them, targeting only the few consumers at the bottom of the sales funnel proved to be a costly mistake.

It reminds me of an old saying. “Don’t sell just to the kings. There just aren’t enough of them.”

Duane Alverson currently serves as President of MacDonald Broadcasting Company. Duane has been with MacDonald Broadcasting Company for 32 years serving in various sales leadership positions. He served as Chairman of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2012 and as President of the Michigan Jaycees in 1981-82. Duane resides in Saginaw, Michigan.
Reprinted with permission. 

Stop Making These Top 10 Marketing Mistakes

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Duane Alverson

By:  Duane Alverson, President
MacDonald Broadcasting Company (Saginaw & Lansing)

If you’re like most business leaders, you’re likely struggling to navigate the myriad of marketing channels available to advertisers these days. With so many options out there, and with attention spans so fragmented and disjointed, how are business owners to know how and where to best spend their precious marketing dollars–especially with limited budgets?

Reflexively, most people fall back on one of three “safe” plans:

1.) They rely on hunches, and/or use the “trial-and-error” approach. They spend a little bit here and a little bit there, hoping that something will pay off somewhere. Then, when none of it works, they’re left scratching their heads.

2.) They play “follow-the-leader,” and simply do what their competitors are doing, without much rhyme or reason to the approach. But what if the competitor is making the “trial-and-error” mistake themselves?
3.) They do nothing, out of paralysis that comes from not knowing where to start. And we all know what doing nothing gets you.
Unfortunately, all three plans are neither safe nor strategic. As a result, these businesses end up repeating one or more of the  Top 10 Most Common Mistakes in Marketing.

Is your company making one of these 10 mistakes? CONTINUE READING to find out–and to learn how you can reverse course and make the most out of your marketing budget! Of course, there is much more to discuss than can be covered in one article. If you have any questions about how you can avoid these mistakes and maximize your marketing potential, contact me to schedule a time when we can review your particular goals in person.

Duane Alverson currently serves as President of MacDonald Broadcasting Company. Duane has been with MacDonald Broadcasting Company for 32 years serving in various sales leadership positions. He served as Chairman of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters in 2012 and as President of the Michigan Jaycees in 1981-82. Duane resides in Saginaw, Michigan.
Reprinted with permission.