Radio Listeners are Driving!

We’ve all heard the apocryphal story of the famous bank robber Willie Sutton who, when asked why he robbed banks, replied “because that’s where the money is”. Some social scientists have referred to the process of considering the obvious first, “Sutton’s Law”. Amazingly, many radio advertisers forget to consider the obvious about where broadcast radio is consumed –it’s predominately in the car!

The Radio Advertising Bureau reports that 75% is heard in the listener’s vehicle. And that proportion increases to 84% among high income households. In a separate study, Nielsen confirms 3/4 of radio is consumed out-of-home.

Why is this important? Because advertisers are asking listeners to respond to their ads in ways that are not feasible for drivers. Drivers cannot immediately visit a cited website. Drivers cannot, or should not text a keyword to an SMS shortcode. Drivers cannot even dial a vanity 800 number, since it involves hunting & pecking to spell a word. The result? Advertisers are sub-optimizing response to their radio advertising!

Expecting listeners to remember to go to a website after they arrive at home or work is asking a lot. Sure, some will remember to do so, but probably a small fraction of those who were motivated by the advertisement when they first heard it. A more serious problem is that if those prospects start at Google, they will not go directly to the advertiser’s website, but rather be exposed to all the competitive providers of that product category in the search results and peripheral paid advertising. In effect, your advertising could be driving leads to your competitors!

Is there a solution to this conundrum? Yes - a universal mobile speed dial, #250, that works on virtually all mobile phones in the US and Canada. Rather than asking listeners to visit a website or call a hard to remember 8XX toll-free number, the call to action can be as simple as “dial #250 and say (keyword)”. The Spoken Keyword can be the brand name, company name, or a catch phrase that conveys the product or service benefit, such as “Cut My Taxes”, “Higher Pay”, or “Perfect Vision”. By removing the barriers to response (can’t go online, can’t text, can’t dial vanity numbers, can’t remember random 800#s), and replacing it with a speed dial, you will see lift in call volume (assuming your product and offer are compelling in the first place).

One of the biggest trends in technology these days is Voice interfaces to devices (think Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana). The advantage that #250 provides is that (1) the advertiser controls the consumer experience, and (2) it insulates your prospect from competitive exposure in search results. Controlling the experience means that the caller gets connected to a specific phone number at the advertiser’s call center or front desk, where the live representative is trained to know the offer playing on the radio, and is trained to answer questions, and can create a bond with the caller — something you don’t get with online queries.

Many drivers nowadays can make and receive calls hands-free in their cars, using a Bluetooth connection to their mobile phone. After hearing a radio ad with the #250 call-to-action, they can simply press the Bluetooth button on their steering wheel, and say “dial pound two five zero” to connect — where they will hear the prompt “hello, please say the keyword”.

Bottom line: if you have already made the decision to do radio advertising (due to its reach & cost-efficiency), don’t ask your prospects to respond in a way they cannot do while driving — that only means you are leaving money on the table. By contrast, use the only viable response method for drivers - #250.


Listen to real radio ads that use #250:

See real TV ads that use #250:

To obtain a Spoken Keyword for your business or advertising client, CLICK HERE

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