Radio Advertising Guide for Mid-Missouri


If you want to advertise in Mid-Missouri, radio can be an excellent addition to your media mix. As one of the few options that can reach virtually every adult in the nation, its targeting and array of format options mean that you can reach your unique audience segments.

This comprehensive guide has been developed to give you a more complete understanding of how radio fits into the marketing landscape in Missouri, how it can fit in a cross-channel approach, and the best ways to leverage it for optimal results.

You can view the entire guide below or download a digital copy by completing the form. We hope you enjoy this complimentary resource for Mid-Missouri marketers and business owners. 

View the entire guide below, or download a digital copy for yourself by completing this form:

Chapter 1: Why Radio?

Radio marketing brings a lot to the table. First and foremost, it offers unparalleled reach — 93% of adults in the U.S. are reached by radio each week, and a little less than two-thirds will tune in every day according to a report from Forbes. The average listener will consume 1,100 hours of radio annually. That brings a lot of loyalty with it. Regular listeners are unlikely to spin the dial during a commercial break, especially if their favorite show or DJ is currently on the air. Radio personalities form deep connections with their listeners, and as a result, listeners think of them like close friends and look to them as thought leaders.

Personalities are also a key part of why radio can be highly targetable, despite being a mass reach medium. Different formats and programs reach unique audiences throughout the day. When you know your audience, you can schedule your ad to run at the right time to be heard by the right audience. This is even easier when you consider the fact that radio is the only truly portable medium out there — 82% of American adults say that the first thing they do once they get into the car is tune in to AM/FM radio — and most listeners are exposed to radio during their commute, while they’re at work, and wherever they’re out and about.

Of course, the most important factor for advertisers is how well they stand apart from their competition and the results that radio advertising delivers. When you choose the right media partners, radio offers an uncluttered listening experience, giving you more of the audience’s attention and lifting recall. It also works by tapping into the theater of the mind, which means you have the opportunity to build stories and evoke real emotions. That intimacy is highly effective — the overall average increase in incremental spending for every dollar spent on marketing via radio is $6, and many industries see an average that’s as high as $17 per dollar (via Nielsen).

Chapter 2: What Advertisers Need to Know about Mid-Missouri Listeners

Mid-Missouri consists of 10 cities, each with its own demographic breakdown and unique features. Once you add in Mizzou and a host of other colleges, you’ll find that the region offers an eclectic mix of students, families, and businesses that regularly change as the academic year rolls forward and our strong economy attracts new attention. This includes an ever-growing population of new residents, and that brings broad diversity as minority populations take root and thrive.

The overall growth of minorities is 46.8%. This includes:

  • African Americans: 30.6%
  • Hispanics: 102.9%
  • First Nation: 10.1%
  • Asians: 53%

Businesses will easily find growing opportunities to connect with minority groups and niche interests in this growing and diverse market.

The unemployment rate remains low, while mid-Missouri counties rank highly on lists for employment share and income share. There’s no difficulty seeing why the region attracts high-growth industries like manufacturing, specialty trade contracting, and healthcare. As a hub for medical professionals and other 24-hour jobs, there’s also a rich night-time economy to tap into as well. As tight-knit and family-driven as the community is, more than half of the residents are unmarried, making room for night-life.  What’s more, the region is increasingly affluent with disposable income.

Sports in general and football in particular are very important in mid-Missouri, and they tend to be a family affair. Just visit a Tiger Tailgate once and you’ll see how an entire community can come together and celebrate the teams they love. Coupled with 24-hour reach and being one of the top three markets in the U.S. for mixed news-music format stations (with country close behind), the region’s radio stations offer numerous opportunities to reach audiences in meaningful ways.

Interested in learning more about mid-Missouri audiences? Download our free ebook, The Top 10 Things You Should Know About Mid-Missouri Radio.

Chapter 3: Campaigns That Work

Radio can be a key piece of any type of marketing campaign, whether you’re trying to boost brand awareness, encourage specific actions, or grow your company through recruiting.

Action Campaigns

Action campaigns are perfect for when you want listeners to take action during a certain time frame, relying on high frequency to push a sense of urgency. These campaigns run for a relatively short period of time with a clear deadline and specific goal, so they’re perfect for lifting sales on a new product offering, generating leads, or promoting events. We want to be clear that it does need to be specific -- more “X% lift in sales over Y amount of time” than a generic “make a serious lift in sales”.

Results should be clear when the advertised event or promotion is over. In part, this is due to your specific goal (e.g., the sales either did or did not lift over that period of time), but it relies heavily on your call-to-action. CTAs need to be as crystal clear as they are compelling, and gauging whether or not they follow through with those next steps will help you see how effective your campaign is. That requires relying on hard numbers, too.

Radio is a perfect fit because regular reach allows you to get your spot in listeners’ ears with high frequency. Make sure to take advantage of radio sponsorships and the endorsement of radio personalities. Radio is both ubiquitous and influential because of these options, especially the radio hosts and DJs listeners already spend so much time with.

Brand Awareness Campaigns

These campaigns are all about raising brand awareness and recall. They give you the time and space to educate listeners about who your brand is and what you value, make it clear what you offer and why it matters to them, establish authenticity, and build a sense of authority in topics related to your business. Essentially, they fold bolstering awareness of your brand into staying top-of-mind throughout the campaign’s duration by leveraging your unique selling points and differentiating yourselves from the competition. These are long-term campaigns and work over time to establish mental real estate with listeners.

Radio is a great tool for these campaigns, thanks to its mass reach and listener loyalty. When your audience tunes in regularly, you achieve optimal frequency. Combine this with the unique creative elements radio offers -- like storytelling that engages emotion through the theater of the mind or “owning” certain sounds to directly associate them with your brand -- to develop a lasting impression on and connection to your audience.

At Zimmer Radio, we also partner with Chuck Mefford, creator of BrandsFormation. This four-step system is proven to help small and local businesses achieve big results. By developing a sound strategy, focusing on a strategy-based message to tell your brand’s story, establishing consistency, and dominating the channel through frequency, you can ensure your brand resonates with audiences and connects with them on a deeper level. The method appeals to the real reason customers make a purchase; to paraphrase Mefford, the person shopping for a new mattress is actually shopping for a good night’s sleep. Branding can establish a relationship with your audience by establishing what they’ll really get out of choosing your products or services.

Recruitment Campaigns

Whether you have a specific position to fill or you’re trying to keep top talent in the pipeline, using radio to aid recruitment can be incredibly successful. Either action or awareness campaigns can be useful to meet your needs, and often, a combination of the two will be most effective. The right creative can grab attention while still establishing your company as authoritative in your industry and a great place to work.

Radio already reaches most adults, but it specifically reaches 89% of those who are very likely to change jobs within the next year. Unlike other types of job listings, radio provides a small experience of what your company is really like to work for; engaging the theater of the mind gives them insight into company culture and performance expectations. Coupled with the fact that radio can be targeted, drives action, and allows you to track your results, it’s a clear win for any growing company.

However, it remains critical that you align your station and daypart choices on the profile of your ideal candidate. Choosing radio for a recruitment campaign is about intersecting with potential candidates where they are. Include clear CTAs to drive them to the right next step for connecting with your company, even if it’s heading to a landing page for full details about how to apply. No matter what your goals are, radio can provide the cost-effective flexibility to meet your needs with powerful reach and credibility. It provides a shorter lead-time than other media, so you can apply up-to-date data and other perspectives to your creative and production.

To learn more about the types of campaigns radio can be used for, download our free ebook, Action and Awareness: How to Build a Customized Advertising Campaign for Your Mid-Missouri Business, or head to our blog to read about radio and recruitment.

Chapter 4: Best Practices for Memorable, Effective Radio Spots

When done well, radio marketing can achieve top results for your brand. The trick, of course, is to strategically and purposefully develop effective creative that can generate leads, conversions, and revenue.

Align the Message with Your Goals

Radio offers a very limited amount of time to share a message, so you need to ensure that message is created with a clear purpose that fits into your overall business strategy. If it doesn’t achieve something for your business, why are you doing it?

Grab Attention within the First Few Seconds

Remember, even when a listener is tuned in when your ad runs, they also need to be paying attention. You’re only going to have roughly three to five seconds to really capture that attention. The most compelling part of your ad needs to be stated clearly and early on.

Be Different to Stand Out

Consumers are exposed to at least 5,000 ads daily on average, and with more options for devices and platforms, that number will likely continue to grow. That’s a lot of marketing noise for your ad to get lost in, so it’s important to be different from your competitors.

Always Remember Your Audience

Radio is an incredibly personal medium, and your advertising needs to speak to that. Address your audience directly, or appeal to them as the brand that helps them be a hero.

Answer the Question, “What’s In It for Me?”

Exposed to so many ads and with so many products and services to choose from, consumers can take a “what have you done for me lately” stance. Solving real and pressing issues will always sell. Be sure your ad establishes what your brand does to solve a problem or add value to their lives.

Use the Power of Storytelling

Authentic emotional connections are a key piece to marketing, and radio is the perfect medium to do that. This might be through telling the story about your brand, especially through employees, or it may be telling the audience a story about themselves. Either way, remember that people make decisions based on how they feel, not logic alone.

Keep It Simple

You can’t pack everything into one radio spot, and usually, you shouldn’t pack all that much into an ad to begin with. Stick to one clear, concise call-to-action that makes sense to your audience while achieving a business goal. The more you try to fit in an ad, the more muddled it can become, and the harder it is for listeners to follow through.

Enhance Your Ad with Sound Elements

Don’t add sound elements for the sake of it. Choose effective elements that help your audience to connect even more with the story you’re telling. This can help make your ad memorable and improve the way listeners feel about your brand.

Focus on Authenticity

Authenticity isn’t just a marketing buzzword — it’s a demand from consumers throughout the country. Authentically share your passion, or dig deep into revealing pieces of your brand identity, in order to establish trust. Share authentic conversations and support real reviews and testimonials to establish and grow loyalty.

Invest in Professional Production

Don’t undermine the rest of your hard work by going cheap with your production. Turn to experts like Zimmer Radio, nominee for five prestigious Radio Mercury Awards in the last seven years and winner of the Radio Station Produced category in 2011. Our nationally recognized team has both the expertise and the equipment to develop and produce a polished and professional radio spot.

Looking for a little advice about your radio ad creative? Get a free copy of our guide, 10 Ways to Make Sure Your Radio Creative Doesn’t Fall Flat!

Chapter 5: More Than Just Commercials

If your media partner is only developing radio spots, you’ve got the wrong partner. While we’ll get to channel integration in a moment, we want to touch on how partnering with a station should lead to more than just a spot on the air.


The best jingles are hard to forget, and in the process, they make your brand incredibly memorable — in fact, 89% of people believe jingles are an incredibly effective form of advertising. They’re fun, and they can help differentiate your brand by highlighting the best parts of your brand identity, no matter your industry.


We’ve already mentioned the influence of radio personalities from the perspective of airing an ad during a listener’s favorite show. An actual endorsement, whether it’s on the air or on the personality’s social media, can help your audience give your brand and product or service real consideration. The trust and loyalty that listeners have for their favorite DJ can be transferred to your brand when they speak favorably of an authentic experience with it.

Event Sponsorship

Event marketing is useful for building brand awareness, and if you’ve got a booth at the event, you can put a face to your business and earn some trust in the process. When you partner with the right media expert, those effects are boosted further because you connect directly with your target audience and have a real impact on their community.


All radio stations have a website and various social media channels, not to mention the fact that many stations will also provide a streaming version of their shows. Make sure that when you develop your campaign strategy, you’re utilizing these potential outlets accordingly. Some media partners, like Zimmer, will also offer further services, including digital promotions, social media management, geo-fencing, targeted display, or even website development and management. By including these with your radio efforts, you make cross-channel integration more seamless and effective.

Chapter 6: Integrating Radio with Other Advertising Channels

Radio trounces TV and billboards when it comes to average cost per commercial ($500 versus $1,500 and between $1,500 and $3,500, respectively) and average ROI per dollar spent ($6 versus $3 and $2.80). When it comes to Americans with direct access to the platform, radio definitively beats TV (95% versus 56%) and breaks even with OOH (which includes billboards).

But the reality is that today’s consumers move seamlessly between devices and services, so ensuring a meaningful marketing frequency requires leveraging more than just one medium at a time. Radio bolsters the effectiveness of other marketing channels when used in a cohesive campaign. At Zimmer, we’ve found two channels in particular to be especially effective with radio in the mix.

Paired with Magazines

Radio builds trust, so it makes sense to pair it with another trustworthy medium. Print magazines are the top choice to trust for shoppers who want to make a purchase, according to the MPA. Like radio, magazine also offers universal appeal, even with the elusive Millennial or Gen Z shoppers. Print drives higher comprehension and recall thanks to the amount of direct attention reading requires, and in turn, that pays off with improved awareness and purchase intent.

Radio and magazines provide a balance for the other — audio and visual — while fully engaging the mind in two different ways. Audiences are exposed to them at different times, increasing the frequency of your message and branding.

Paired with Digital

Digital offers a wide variety of potential options, from SEM that drives traffic to your website or store, to video, PPC, and social media. Each offers something a little different in terms of targeting, content, calls-to-action, and audience engagement. SEM puts your brand directly in the path of pertinent search terms, which in turn can be built into radio creative. Banner ads can be placed on station websites or delivered to users based on their browsing behavior. Somewhat similarly to print, video taps into the visual balance to radio’s pure audio and provides a similar level of emotional response.

One of the strongest digital elements every brand should be utilizing is social media. Consumers expect to find brands there today, so much so that between a fifth and a quarter of usersexposed to ads on social media will head to the advertiser’s website. Your audience spends time there regularly, so you need to be there, too. Listeners regularly engage with their favorite station personalities on social media, adding to your opportunities to be part of their conversation when your brand comes up. Radio ads can point to your social media channels, bolstering engagement levels.

At Zimmer, we provide digital promotions that are fun for your audience and useful for you, especially in terms of foot traffic and lead generation. Quizzes, contests, and sweepstakes give audiences a reason to care, and can generate the best kind of buzz.

Want to learn more about combining radio with other media? Be sure to take advantage of our free download, How To Combine Radio & Magazine Advertising to Boost Your Marketing Results!, or head to our blog for more insights.

Chapter 7: How to Know Radio Is Really Working

Every campaign and each element of a campaign should be driven by one thing: Results. Hard data will let you keep your campaign in perspective and objectively analyze what did or did not work. Develop a strategy ahead of time to identify what KPIs to monitor, develop benchmark goals to ensure your campaign is on track, and reflect on results as opportunities to improve future campaigns.


Ensure you have the means to track which elements of your campaign are driving results. For instance, your paid social media ad might lead to a different landing page than the URL given in your print magazine ad, or your radio spot lists a unique phone number to track. Hashtags and unique codes can also help indicate attribution. However, you also need to remember to view your channels holistically — the path to purchase is extremely fragmented, so the last interaction a customer had with your brand may not be wholly responsible for their decision to act or convert.


Commit to A/B testing to pinpoint the best call-to-action or creative execution. This data will give you a snapshot of what you can expect when the ad actively runs and help ensure you’re observing the best KPIs for success.

Impact on Your Business Goals

When you developed goals for your radio campaign, that should give you clear guidelines for what your campaign is intended to accomplish. Watch for lifts in foot traffic, web traffic, leads, and especially revenue over an appropriately corresponding time frame to objectively determine whether the campaign has benefitted your business. (Remember, awareness campaigns take time to build momentum and yield results.)

The Campaign Is Generating New Leads

Another key factor is actually generating leads with your advertising. The results we mention in the first point aren't necessarily the same thing, just as tracking metrics and their results aren't the same as understanding your ROI. New Leads are an extension of those results, carrying the listener from simply visiting your website — to keep with our previous example — into taking steps to find out more about your business in a way that leads them closer to conversion. For example, if the landing page features another call to action that has them exchange particular information in order learn more, sign up for your newsletter, or download related content.

Of course, to ensure that these new leads are due to your radio campaign, you'll need a way to determine attribution. Sometimes, that means using a phone number that's only featured in the radio ad; however, you'll need to have a number that's easy to remember, especially if your ad will air during popular drive times, when people can't immediately reach for their phones.

Alternate ideas can include catchy short URLs, CTAs that include a code specific to the radio ad which can in turn be entered when they fill out lead forms, and hashtags for social media engagement. It's important to remember to avoid weak methods of attribution, including the "mention this ad" schtick or "check off where you heard about us" forms.

Reliance on Data

You may be familiar with the old advertising tactic, “mention this ad,” but it’s actually a horrible way to gauge ad effectiveness or ROI. We’ve written about it before, but this kind of ad doesn’t provide a true CTA, and thus it isn’t very compelling and is historically very inaccurate. Worse still, it doesn’t provide a dependable means for tracking -- it relies too much on the customer and their ability to remember exactly how they experienced your ad in spite of just how many ads they experience across multiple channels every day. It also puts the burden on your employees to ensure they’re actually asking these questions when they should be focusing on customer service and getting the sale.

Hard data, on the other hand, is critical for determining how effective a campaign is and being able to course correct when a campaign isn’t performing, not to mention ensuring you’ll avoid the same mistakes in your next campaign. Hard data includes actual number of leads generated, new customers, sales of a certain product during a certain time period, or year over year growth just to name a few.

Bonus Tip: It’s About the CTA

When it comes to tracking your marketing ROI -- whether on the radio or almost anywhere else -- one of the most important things to keep in mind is your CTA (or call-to-action). Here’s how to know if your CTA isn’t making the cut:

1. You're Not Seeing Results

While this might seem pretty simple, it’s something marketers surprisingly overlook at times. There’s always a bias to sticking to what you’re doing. But if your marketing isn’t generating results or conversions, it’s probably a good time to look at your call to action and see what potential improvements might be made.

2. Your Call to Action Is Vague

People respond best to clear instructions and low barriers to completing action. Is your CTA clear for the listener or viewer in terms of what their next steps are? What exactly will they receive by taking the next steps, and why exactly should they engage? Overall, keep your CTAs clear and to the point, prompting people to take only a single action (not a variety of different ones). According to radio advertising best practices, you’ll want to define the action clearly and make it easy to understand, as the listener may not be in the position to stop and write down information while they’re listening in the car.

3. Bland Language That Doesn't Convey Urgency

Without a captivating message that sparks the listener’s imagination, your CTA will simply fall on deaf ears. A radio ad, for example, should tell the consumer to do something like “Visit our website to claim today’s exclusive promo code.” This makes them excited that it’s an exclusive special that will only be available for a limited time. If your ad simply asks them to call a phone number, you won’t find many people that will find any urgent reason to do so.

4. You're Not Speaking Your Audience's Language

Although your CTA might be clear and concise, if it doesn’t relate specifically to your audience you might be in trouble. On one end of the spectrum, it might be too industry specific or jargon heavy. On the other hand, maybe your messaging is simply missing the correct audience you intend to be targeting. You’ll want to use language in your radio ads that speaks not just to the consumer group you’re targeting, but also to their motivations.

5. Your CTA Is Too Close to the Competition

While it’s ok to use messaging that’s acceptable within a certain industry, if your CTA sounds too close to what your competition is using, your call to action is bound to get lost in the shuffle. You can definitely use some inspiration from your competitors, but certainly avoid directly copying what they are offering or how they’re utilizing their CTAs. The bottom line is if your call to action sounds like it’s copied from a competitor, it won’t allow you to build your own individual business or brand.

Now, go back and take a look at your calls to action, particularly in your radio ads. You’ll then be able to determine if your marketing needs a stronger call to action and adjust your CTA game plan accordingly.

Chapter 8: Tips for New Radio Advertisers

Radio can be incredibly useful, but first-time advertisers may be hesitant, or on the other hand, they may be ready to dive in without establishing the proper perspective first. Here are a few tips to get you started down the right road with radio:

  • Start with a plan. Don’t try to develop your campaign as you go. You’ll be more effective — and ready to deal with obstacles — if you know what your objectives are, how you plan to track and measure progress, and how radio will fit into your overall marketing mix.
  • Know your target audience. Conduct thorough research and understand the demographics, psychographics, and media habits of your target audience and any pertinent audience segments. Always rely on up-to-date data for the marketing choices you make.
  • Determine your radio advertising budget. Define your budget early on based on your plan and audience, then stick to it. The budget should define the options you choose, not the other way around!
  • Be consistent. Your radio advertising should fit seamlessly alongside your other marketing. This includes how your brand is presented along with the frequency of your campaign message, which will improve recall, brand recognition, and conversions.
  • Trust the professionals. Your expertise is likely outside of radio advertising, so find a media partner like Zimmer Radio that you can trust to develop the best possible campaign and deliver the results you want to see. At Zimmer, we can help you reach your target audience through top stations, creative development, digital reach, magazine ad integration, and much more.


Radio may be a traditional medium, but it’s as powerful as it gets. Advertisers that understand how to work with the right partners, know their audience, and select the best station and dayparts can reap incredible benefits, especially in ROI. We hope this guide has helped clarify the role radio could play as a part of your marketing media mix here in mid-Missouri.

About Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group

We operate under two guiding principles: The Customer Is King and The Product Is Sacred. As a Missouri-based, family owned company, we’ve developed lasting partnerships that strengthen local businesses and ensure they thrive. Over time, we’ve grown beyond our roots in radio to include digital services (social media, digital promotions, and website development) and print magazines.

Ready to Start with Radio?

With a family of nine radio stations, Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group can help deliver more than 384,000 listeners in Mid-Missouri and ensure you get amazing results. Feel free to contact us today so we can set up a time to learn about your business, your audience, and your unique needs and goals.