Consumers Question Effectiveness Of Traditional Radio Ads, Tout Custom Content As Main Buying Influencer

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New survey of radio listeners by CRN International helps marketers understand which messaging tactics are the most effective.

Research - Most likely to buy

Custom content was seen as the most likely to influence purchase consideration.

Two-thirds of respondents said they don't make it past the second ad during a commercial break.

Radio listeners are raising questions about the impact of traditional radio commercials and have overwhelmingly endorsed custom content as the marketing method most likely to influence a purchasing decision.

Those are some highlights from an online research poll of 525 consumers conducted by radio marketing company CRN International. The intent was to get a better handle on what marketing tactics work the best with the listening audience, defined by a wide range of demographics including gender, age, education, income, frequency of radio listening, and product categories of buying interest.

The findings suggest that some of the more traditional methods of messaging are not necessarily the strongest strategies for brands to employ to meet their marketing objectives.

For example, of the brand messaging strategies considered, 77 percent of the respondents said they are most interested in listening to useful or entertaining information about an area of interest to them, far surpassing the second most popular response, which was hearing about and participating in contests or sweepstakes (11 percent). Less than 2 percent said their top choice would be listening to traditional commercials.

Regarding how each tactic would affect consideration of a purchase decision, again custom content was the pacesetter, with 41 percent of survey respondents saying that would be the messaging form most likely to increase their purchase decision. Testimonials from everyday consumers like themselves came in second as a purchasing influencer at 20 percent, with traditional commercials finishing third at 18 percent. More than 80 percent of the respondents confirmed that they pay little attention to radio spot commercials. Those ads, they said, have little chance of influencing a buying decision.

About one-third of the survey base said they listen to most of a commercial, while two-thirds said they do not. About 19 percent of the survey group – excluding those who said they do not listen to radio -- said they do not listen to radio commercials at all.

The survey ran counter to past research that suggested most radio listeners stay tuned in through entire lengthy commercial stop sets. In the CRN research, 67 percent of the consumers said they don’t make it past the second advertisement during a commercial break.

While a custom content campaign was found to be the marketing form with the greatest chance to influence a purchase decision, 42 percent of the consumers said messaging that used everyday people like themselves to endorse a product would likely increase the chances of considering or buying that product.

Almost 60 percent said they would be very or somewhat receptive to considering the product of a brand that was sponsoring a contest or sweepstakes on the radio. A little more than one-quarter of the respondents said a celebrity DJ personality endorsement would positively influence their consideration of a product. A little less than one-quarter said attending a local radio station live appearance would increase their chances of considering or buying the sponsoring brand’s product.

“The survey results confirm a lot of what we had suspected about which marketing tactics truly motivate consumers to take action,’ said CRN Marketing Director Jim Alkon. “We also believe some of the data could be relevant to other media as well, based on the nature of the tactics.”

To access the full research report with more detailed findings, please CLICK HERE.

Any breakouts of specific cross-tabulation results by product category or any other demographic are available upon request.

About CRN International
CRN International (http://www.crnradio.com) uses radio differently to solve marketing challenges for major brands. It is based in New Haven, CT, and has offices in New York; Minneapolis; Detroit; Houston; and Hershey, PA.

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Jim Alkon
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