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Thursday, September 18, 2014

(SALES) Where Is The Money?


In my last Radio Ink blog, I mentioned that radio is not a zero-sum game and that it?s not other radio stations that are your competition, it is other media. Do you know who your competition is?

Here?s a test. Which of the following media capture the most local ad dollars?
a.) TV
b.) Newspaper
c.) Radio
d.) Online/Digital
e.) Outdoor/Transit
f.) Magazines
g.) Direct Mail.

Most broadcasters are surprised to learn that the answer is ?g,? direct mail. According to local media and advertising experts BIA Kelsey, direct mail takes more than twice as much money out of your market than all of the radio stations combined.

But here is the good news. Direct mail is also one of the most vulnerable media, in part because the money isn?t really going to ?direct? mail, it?s going to ?mass? mail.

Let me explain the difference. Mass mail is mailed to the masses, uninvited, to blanket geographic areas, with no pre-qualification or demographic distinctions.

Direct mail is personalized, addressed, and mailed ?directly? to pre-selected targets, generally to either existing customer databases, or to consumers who have given permission or invited the mail into their homes.

There is no question that direct mail, which is invited and targeted mail, can produce results. And the good news is that today advertisers need not pay for printing or costly snail mail via the post office, but instead can send for free via e-mail.

The reason that direct mail seems to capture such huge revenues, is that businesses are mistakenly confusing mass mail with direct mail. Business owners and decision makers hear or read about a successful direct mail campaign, one invited into homes by their customer database or other pre-qualified mailing list, and they eagerly write checks for the mass mailings.

It?s time we educated our local advertisers about the new media landscape, and helped them understand that mass mail cannot produce the results that direct mail produces; and that even direct mail, which is an addressed, permission-based media, can be done for little or no cost online.

Internet marketing guru, Seth Godin, says in his September 5 post, ?In direct mail, [I think he means mass mail] you're doing well if only 99 people out of a hundred say no. Not 25%, but 1% success. Online, though, the numbers are far worse. It's not unusual for a thousand people to visit your website before someone buys something. It's not news if you ask 5,000 Twitter followers to do something and they all refuse to take action.?

Mass mail sellers like Val-Pack and others have been very effective in persuading advertisers to think they are selling ?direct mail? rather than mass mail. However, it?s simply not true.

Direct mail is personally addressed and usually part of a permission-based marketing system. And frankly, direct mail marketing is really better today being done by e-mail addresses than postal addresses which change with every consumer move and have high printing and postage costs.

It is important that you educate your advertisers on the difference between direct mail and mass mail so that the next time they hear about a direct mail success, they don?t line up to waste their money on mass mail.

A curious side note, every mass mailer acknowledges that their rate of return increases when they promote their mailings on radio!

Your stations are invited into homes, cars, and offices. Those who listen to your stations do so by choice, not because the post office stuffed your message in their mailbox. Consumers have eyelids, but they don?t have ear lids. They can choose not to open mass mailings, but they invite your stations and your sponsors into their homes, offices, and cars, every day.

Wayne Ens is president of ENS Media Inc and conducts local market surveys and educational advertiser seminars to increase local radio revenues. Contact him at

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