As a small business, it can be hard to decide where to spend your hard earned marketing dollars. When you're not sure about a new channel of advertising, you may want to dip your toes in the water before you dive into a full commitment. Unfortunately, depending on the type of campaign you're running, only spending enough to air advertisements on the radio for one month may not be enough to see any results even though it's effective in the long run.
Action vs. Awareness
There are two types of advertising campaigns: action and awareness. We've written more extensively on this topic before, but to keep it brief, think of it this way: An action campaign is designed to make a customer do something very specific in a short period of time, while an awareness campaign is designed to build brand awareness and illuminate brand identity. An action campaign is probably what you're most familiar with and is what tends to produce immediate results — it requires strong calls-to-action and a sense of urgency to inspire a customer to act now, e.g., buying products at a steep discount for one weekend only, entering a contest, or attending an open house event.
As you may have guessed, the action campaign is the one best suited for fast turnaround times on results, however, depending on the action being taken and the efficacy of your call-to-action, one month still may not be enough for a radio campaign. For instance, if you're hoping for an astronomical increase in sales, it may take time for the listeners to be interested enough in your brand to take that kind of immediate action. Even so, big sale items — say, a special at a local auto dealership — can still find those kinds of results in an extremely short period of time.
When Patience Is a Virtue
An awareness campaign is a little different — it requires a little more investment and a lot more time to make a lasting impression required to make your brand the go-to name in your field or region. While all advertising should be looked at as an investment rather than an instant money maker, this is especially true of the awareness campaign.
We're all human, so we understand the urge for instant gratification. But when it comes to building your brand identity, it's an urge you need to avoid. Even the best sale or event will be quickly forgotten if you're not running the kind of campaigns that keep your brand at the top of consumers minds in a lasting, meaningful way. That means you don't want to constantly be associated with discounts — think of Bed Bath & Beyond, for which customers expect a deal and will wait for it as a standard. An awareness campaign can tell customers why your brand actually offers them true, lasting value, and help differentiate you from the competition. Of course, making that impression takes time, frequency, and consistency. It takes strong branding and very realistic expectations. It's important for the growth of your company, but the results aren't going to be immediate.
Why a Complete Marketing Strategy Matters
We don't want you to think that a one-month on-air campaign will never work, or that you should favor action over awareness campaigns or vice versa. In fact, our point is the opposite — you need a comprehensive strategy that integrates all kinds of campaigns and marketing channels in order to see the best results. You shouldn't just use radio, you should use radio, digital, and social in an integrated, synchronized way. This will boost the two most important factors in marketing: frequency and consistency. And by utilizing both an action campaign in conjunction with an awareness campaign, you can see both short term responses and long term results.
As you can see, being patient in the choices you make for both action and awareness campaigns can be the key to success. One month on-air may be a waste of your ad spend, but it doesn't have to be. Taking a longer-term approach won't necessarily be a waste of your money either. For a more complete explanation of the difference between action and awareness campaigns, be sure to download our free eBook on the topic. If you're interested in finding out what a more effective testing period for an awareness campaign might be, contact us today. We can chat about what your needs are and what advertising on-air can offer.