Our latest expert interview is with David Haar, Integrated Media Account Manager for Hubbard Radio Phoenix. He shares his expertise on radio advertising, and where he sees the future of the industry headed.

Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into the radio industry.

I have been in the marketing and advertising space dating back to 2000 and during my career, I’ve been fortunate to work for several different companies that encompass many different areas of marketing and advertising including: digital marketing, radio, event sponsorships, print, local activation, and more. I’ve worked with companies of all shapes and sizes from the single location hair salon or restaurant in a strip mall to household names like Anheuser-Busch, Microsoft, AutoNation and more. FUN FACT: I learned more than anyone ever needs to know about the daily deal space when I was with LivingSocial from 2010 – 2013. A shame that industry has pretty much imploded. If it ever has a resurgence, I’m the guy to call!

I really enjoyed my time in the radio industry from 2004 – 2008. At the time, the only online monetization opportunities we had were a banner ad on one of our station websites and now, in 2019, the amount of digital opportunities that are available to compliment an ongoing radio campaign are limitless. I really enjoy being able to help my clients across several points in the buyer’s journey as opposed to just being relegated to one small section of how people interact with brands before making a purchase. That buyer’s journey can start with things like seeing a billboard, hearing a radio commercial or seeing a television commercial and that journey living primarily online after that initial message is received. Now that I’m at a company that encompasses traditional marketing and advertising opportunities like radio, outdoor and television and then can continue to be involved after that initial interaction, I’m enjoying being able to help my clients out in several areas of their overall marketing efforts.

When did you start Hubbard Radio?

I recently got back into the radio business after being away for around ten years. After leaving the radio business in 2008, I have worked for companies that primarily only offered digital marketing and advertising solutions. I’m excited to be back in a role where I can help clients not only with a mass media opportunity such as radio and event sponsorships but can also help them with more targeted opportunities in the digital space.

Why would people want a service like this?

As modern marketers sift the infinite amount of opportunities they can use to drive traffic, leads and ultimately conversations, it can be challenging to decide what strategies and tactics will drive the best results. Every day business owners and marketing managers are bombarded with countless solicitations from people that want them to work with them so they can advertise their business. Gone are the days of taking a flyer on any/all of those opportunities. Modern marketers need to put a lot of thought and energy into their evaluation of all of the things they can be doing and find the things that will match up well with what they know about their audience.

Some of the things that I have in my back pocket here at Hubbard Radio are not for everyone. If I was working with a client that was say a single location dentist, I really don’t think a grandiose radio campaign that will reach the entire market would be the best fit for them. There are far more targeted solutions that can be effective and generate a positive ROI for a single location dentist like: targeted display campaigns, social media strategies, tapping into the OTT marketplace and more. Being able to have all of these things in our arsenal over here to drive results is a lot of fun!

What’s one of the best success stories you’ve had in the radio business?

Looking back on my radio career, one of my absolute favorite memories was a time when we had some of our national talent in the market available to do an event or two. I was able to secure a venue to do an afternoon event with our listeners and the place was busting at the seams; packed at 2pm on a Saturday. We then were able to take him over to a large music festival that was going on in the market at the same time and they were my client as well. I always look back on that day really fondly as I was able to make the most of the opportunity of having the national talent in the market for less than 24 hours and was able to pull off two great programs that made the clients involved VERY happy!

Why should small businesses try radio advertising?

There are times when a small business is a great fit for radio and when they are not. Let’s take a look at a few of those determining factors below.

You Are Not A Good Fit:

  • If you are looking to turn on your radio campaign and want results starting day one. Radio is a reach and frequency medium and as much as people will certainly start hearing your spots on day one, the likelihood of your phones blowing up right out of the gates are slim to none.
  • You only have one location and that location is on the outskirts of town. The exception to this is if you’re a destination business such as a water park, golf course, entertainment venue, etc. Radio does a great job of reaching people across an entire metropolitan area and can be really efficient in doing so. If the majority of the stations listeners would not go out of their way to walk into your business, it will be hard to see results.
  • You do not have a good website experience for people to interact with after they hear your radio commercials. The days of someone hearing a radio spot and immediately pulling out their phone to become a customer are long gone. Consumers now want to kick tires on a brand after they’ve heard a radio spot or seen a television spot and are going to want to learn more about your brand online on their own terms. If you don’t have a website or your website user experience is lacking, radio will not be as effective as it can be for you.

You Are A Good Fit:

  • You understand the value of reaching tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people with an advertising message and see how mass market opportunities like radio, print and television will jumpstart the process of people becoming a customer that majority of the time will start offline and end online.
  • You have a product or service and have developed the right creative that will match up well with a stations core demographic. You’ve done some research on who your ideal customer is and you’ve found a radio stations or stations that will make sure you reach a lot of people that look like your ideal customer.
  • You like the idea of your brand being aligned with a local radio station that has a legion of passionate followers. Radio is a really great medium when it comes to brand affinity. What other advertising medium do people go out of their way to put bumper stickers on their car for? There is power in having local DJs that listeners follow loyally talk about your brand. There is power in being aligned with the events and charities that radio stations participate in. If you value these things as part of your marketing strategy, radio advertising is a great fit for you!
  • You would never try and cram twenty bullet points into a 30-second commercial. People don’t want to be yelled at when they hear a commercial and talking about how many TVs you have in your sports bar won’t drive people to your location. Being thoughtful and creative with what goes into your spots will go a long way as you look to engrain yourself with a specific radio station’s audience.

Where do you see the future of radio going? 

There are several pundits and experts that would tell you marketing and advertising tactics such as print, radio and television are dead and that statement could not be more erroneous. It’s easy to say that everything is shifting towards digital but there are countless studies that show that where people get their information and entertainment is always changing and there are still large audiences that read newspapers and magazines, listen to traditional radio and watch broadcast and cable television. They still reach large audiences and can produce trackable results when a proper strategy is put in place.

As radio continues to evolve, one of the biggest things you’ll continue to see is the blurring of the line between on-air content and podcast content. Podcasting is becoming more and more mainstream every day but savvy broadcasters have already figured out how to utilize their on-air talent in an on-demand format such as a podcast or video content to be everywhere their listeners are when they want to be entertained.

You’ll also see more and more people looking at how they can use traditional tactics such as print, radio and television and merge those efforts seamlessly with their digital efforts such as search, social, content and more. The days of having your departments or agency partners in silos is over. All must be working together to make sure everyone is on the same page about the overall goals and efforts that are in place across multiple teams that are in place to impact the bottom line.

When was the last time you played the radio in your home? As the use of smart speakers in the home continues to grow at a fast pace, there is a HUGE opportunity for broadcasters to get their audiences to ask Alexa to play their favorite radio station. Radio listening is about to be as easy as ever in the home when for many years, you would hear people claim that radio was just a great medium to reach people in the car or in the office.

Lastly, how people consume information and entertainment will always be changing. You’ve seen the advent of the iPod and streaming shake up the radio industry. The ability to easily DVR television shows has had a big impact on the television industry. Much of the print consumption has shifted to online platforms but people are most certainly still reading. All of these things are okay. None of these things mean you should break out the coffin and plan the funeral for a specific advertising channel. All can be easily incorporated into an overall marketing strategy that focuses on reaching potential customers where they are at different points of the buyer’s journey. That can start with larger mass media options and will throughout the course of that journey whittle down to a very specific question or need to be fulfilled. That part of the buyer’s journey will most likely happen online! Simply focusing all of your efforts on top of the funnel (mass media opportunities) or bottom of the funnel (laser targeted opportunities) will not serve your brand well. By really getting to know your best customers, documenting your targeted customer personas and developing a strategy to reach them with the right message will help you to navigate all of the different options out there to market your business.

Patty Hughes
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