In a day and age where most people seem to have their computers on at work and their televisions on at work, and radio is dominated by syndicated talk shows, can radio play a constructive part in a marketing campaign?
Yes. There are a few ways in which radio can dramatically help a marketing campaign.
In my view, the most important aspect of radio marketing is no longer advertisement-oriented. Instead, it can be used to develop credentials as a celebrity or an expert. Most of the stations interview people from time to time, and if your product has a local focus, being heard on the radio is likely to give you instant credibility among the listeners. They will call you immediately if they need help in your area of expertise, and I have found that this immediate effect will last longer than you might expect-several weeks perhaps, even for a single interview.
There is also a cumulative effect from more than one interview. After hearing you a few times, your potential customers will feel like they know you and consider you almost a friend. They will remember you if they need your services, and they will be far more receptive to a direct mail campaign.
Even if your market is not predominantly local, the celebrity effect can be extremely helpful. You can refer to your interviews, and since much radio programming these days is accessible by internet, your customers can actually look you up and listen via the web. And you can link to the interviews on your website. Because of the web connection, the interviews are sometimes searchable and increase your “presence” in the search engines. And radio interviews have that “spontaneous” feeling (although they are rarely actually spontaneous) that lends itself to viral marketing. The same familiarity and spontaneity, although to a lesser extent, can be achieved with radio advertising.
Of course, the trick to using radio as a significant part of a marketing campaign is to get interviewed, or to get enough radio commercial exposure at an affordable price, preferably free.