Turnaround time is fast and production can be relatively inexpensive. So how do marketers get the most out of their radio campaign? 

The creative and media strategy process starts with a clear understanding of your brand, your audience and the targeted goals you wish to achieve – whether measured in cost per leads, cost per orders or just a bump in website traffic.

Let’s start with that dreaded phrase: the brief. You may roll your eyes, but the brief is a necessary element for the success of each and every campaign.

1. The creative brief

The clearer the brief, the better the messaging is likely to be. Remember, your ad is important to you and the marketer. However, listeners don’t tune in to listen to ads. They're usually busy and are easily distracted.

You have a limited amount of time to get your message across, so those first 10 seconds are vital. If you don’t grab the attention within those first 10 seconds, forget it.

2. The messaging idea

The idea must be clearly understood and stimulate and excite the audio senses to stir the imagination. There is no luxury of beautiful graphics and Instagram worthy pictures. Close your eyes and listen if it works.

We say that radio is the theatre of the mind, but don’t leave too much up to the listener’s imagination. People don’t want to work too hard to connect the dots.

The dialogue and the script need to be short, punchy and to the point – and needs to engage the listener.

Be careful of direct translations in other languages – key messaging can be lost in translation. For example, roses are love to some people but mean death to others.

Cut through that clutter with a single-minded concept that stirs up emotions. Where possible and appropriate, make your messaging relevant to current and trending news issues – but tread carefully.

If you are giving away prizes, cash prizes are king.

3. Production values and cost

Your creative agency needs to look for talent and new writers who understand and get radio. Use voice talent for best messaging delivery.

Production is still relatively inexpensive, so change the execution as often as required to keep your messaging fresh and keep it out of that all too dangerous 'wallpaper' territory.

Be very wary of using too many voices as it can be a very costly exercise.

4. Media penetration

Radio is the ultimate mobile medium to reach captive commuters stuck in their vehicles, taxis, trains or buses.

Understand and tap into your target market’s listening habits, morning and afternoon commute, school lift time, school sports on Saturdays or gospel music on Sundays.

Understand the penetration of each radio station. Each one has their regional strengths and weaknesses.

Don’t, just don’t, flight below required threshold (reach versus frequency) weights. If you do, your message will not cut through. So determine up front what your strategy is and what element is more important: lots of people versus lots of messages.

5. Station and target market match

Choose a DJ to represent your brand based on your target market likes, not on your personal preferences. Stay on top of DJ line-ups.

Establish a definition of success: Do you want to raise awareness, sales or more feet through the door?

6. Cost of radio

Don’t just think about cost per thousand or cost of reach. Think about creating a connection with your consumers.

Listeners love to be engaged, so look beyond the traditional 30-second generic message. Include competitions, live-reads, call-ins, event association, outside broadcasts and giveaways.

7. Engagement

Include a listener call to action to increase engagement with your brand.

Radio continues to evolve within a 360-degree space. Work with this and leverage all the assets that a station has to offer along with the on-air messaging.

Lastly, do not allow stations to 'back-fit' you into their existing competitions. If they don’t work for you, make the stations work with you to deliver an exceptional campaign.

For more information, visit www.mediashop.co.za.