Timing Is Everything
For advertisers, attention to commercial messaging is clearly dynamic. The proper timing of message delivery is as crucial as the creative and target demographic. Timing can be broken down into two distinct zones:
1. Reaching consumers when they are in the proper frame of mind to receive the message. Often, an average piece of creative delivered at the right time stands a better chance of eliciting the desired response than stronger creative delivered at an inopportune time.
2. Reaching consumers when they are in the position to act upon the messaging.
Radio is peerless among all media in delivering both of these. Here's why:
1. Frame of mind Erwin Ephron has often said that what's going on inside the consumer's head at the time of the exposure is the most important environment of all. As usual, we believe he's right. Are targeted consumers relaxed, focused, distracted or preoccupied? It matters -- a lot. A recent Yahoo/MediaVest study found that consumer mindset contributes greatly to the success of a campaign. Another study highlighted the importance of targeting-in-time. Pivotal Veracity concluded that the day of the week and time of day is as important in email campaigns as the messaging and the demographic chosen to receive the message.
There are times when we are more open to receiving commercial messaging and times when we resist it like a root canal. Commercial messages, no matter how relevant or how well-crafted, will be perceived to be an annoyance when we are preoccupied or in task-completion mode. This is why radio is such an effective message vehicle. People tune in to radio to relax and be entertained, which puts them in the frame of mind to more likely accept relevant commercial messaging.
According to the 2010 GfkMRI Media Day survey, radio and television top all media in the ability to "put me in a good mood" and "relaxes me." Radio is the perfect "soak in" medium and with its varied formats, is the perfect mood selecting device. And contrary to what some think, radio's listeners are not only relaxed but engaged. Those "somewhat or fully engaged" with the radio medium are virtually 90% of television's engagement score.
2. Delivery of messaging when action can be taken One major finding from the Council of Research Excellence is that radio is the medium closest to the actual shopping experience. The groundbreaking study found that 62% of all shoppers had listened to the radio for an average of 14 minutes prior to entering the store. TV was a distant second, with only 48% of shoppers being exposed to television 36 minutes prior to shopping. Radio is as close to an in-store advertising vehicle as any mass medium can be. And it has the added benefit of allowing an advertiser to generate a compelling, well-crafted message to deliver a unique selling proposition.
All awareness is not created equal, and radio might even be considered more impactful as in-store as the awareness doesn't communicate product features and benefits. A recent poll in USA Today supported the findings of the 2009 Arbitron In-Car study that Americans are spending more time in their cars. According to Arbitron, commuters are driving more than 18 hours each week. Sixty-eight percent of respondents said that they frequently or sometimes make shopping decisions while driving. This is the audio equivalent of a perfect storm -- reaching the consumer when they are not only receptive to messaging but also when they have the ability to immediately act upon that messaging.
The timing of commercial delivery deserves the same level of focus and attention as the choice of target demo or creative execution. You can ensure your marketing campaign's success by taking advantage of radio's unique ability to effectively deliver commercial messaging in a timely fashion.