“Radio should be in everyone's mix of how they want to activate their brands. And if it's not, it’s something they should think about.” That’s Brent Christenson, Global Director of Marketing Capability for eye-care device company Alcon Laboratories. In an ANA Masters interview with RAB President & CEO Erica Farber for the Radio on Main Street Podcast, Christenson talked about why he’s used the medium over the years for such companies as The Hershey Co., Albertsons, and Hormel Foods.
As the most used audio option in the car, radio delivers a captive audience to advertisers. “You've got a big audience and you've got a captive audience as well,” Christenson said. “Radio is one of the biggest choices of what people choose to do while they are driving. So it's a great time to capture their attention and also drive messaging with them.”
New Ways To Listen
No longer limited to a traditional AM/FM receiver, radio can be accessed across a growing array of devices. “We don't have to have an AM/FM stereo sitting there,” he said, pointing to Alexa-enabled devices and smartwatches. “We have all different types of ability to drive radio. I think that's powerful.”
Driving Impulse Purchases
Working in the confection industry, Christenson said he used radio to drive impulse purchases. “You think about drivetimes, going to work on the way home from work, etc. That’s another powerful way that radio was used and leveraged. If you think about snacking, somebody hears an ad, they go to a grocery store, they remember the ad and they buy stuff, whether it's confection whether it's soda, etc.”
Compared to other media, radio delivers “great cost efficiencies,” Christenson told Farber. “It depends on the campaign, and what are you doing but there are great cost efficiencies with radio.”
Digital advertising rose in popularity among marketers due to its precise targeting ability. But Christenson thinks radio “plays well” in this arena. “We can do a very limited campaign in one market,” he explained. “But then you also have the ability to get into demographics, lifestyle, etc., with different types of music, different genres. It's a powerful reason why radio works so well – because I can highly get highly targeted to [the] demographic that I'm looking for, that's going to resonate with my brand.”
Over the years, this marketing vet says he’s received a great deal of value adds via local air talent that “are helping to activate my brands in different, creative ways. “Some great partnerships have been developed,” he added. “We wanted to make it fun, make it interactive, make it something that consumers thought was kind of new, different, interesting. And some of the local air talent really did a great job of helping bring that to life.”
Amplifies Other Channels
As they aim to positively change consumer behavior to their benefit, brands need to balance their media mix and define the tactics they expect from each. “There's got to be a right balance and an ecosystem that you develop across a campaign. Radio, for example, specifically can continue to add reach, and can also be a surround-sound to amplify the messages that are coming in from other vehicles,” Christenson said.
While he sees a number of reasons why radio can be an effective marketing vehicle, Christenson emphasized that its use depends on what the brand is trying to accomplish. “It's about driving behavior change and looking at not just the tactics as the starting point but actually as a process,” he elaborated. “And so we want to make sure that we understand the why behind what we're doing, and what behavior we're trying to solve, and then look at the best vehicles to get us there.”
Listen to the interview HERE.