We All Must Get On The Same Analytics Page

We All Must Get On The Same Analytics Page

(By Bob McCurdy) Several weeks ago I wrote a blog about a chance meeting I had with an agency CEO in an airport and our subsequent discussion regarding radio accountability and analytics. It can be found here.


I had a follow-up meeting with this individual and his team along with my attribution provider, Analytic Owl, late last week. It was spirited and productive on a number of different levels.

The agency had seven executives participate in the meeting and what came across very quickly was their level of professionalism, knowledge, and intense interest in their clients’ success. These “guys” were pros, had done their homework, and knew what they were talking about. They were clearly a reflection of their boss, who requested a one-on-one Analytic Owl webinar last Sunday in preparation for this meeting. This agency’s clients are in good hands.

After 90 minutes of discussion, with the Analytic Owl folks playing the role of Gladys Knight and me primarily the role of a Pip, there was a considerably greater understanding and appreciation regarding the directional insights that these analytics could provide their clients and how they might contribute to the optimization of any radio campaign.

There were a few key takeaways for me from this meeting:

  There was no debate about the ability of radio to set the table for online search.

  As with any analytics, data, or statistics, there are dangers in parsing too finitely. Directional insights in terms of station, creative, and daypart performance can be sufficiently precise to optimize any media campaign — digital, traditional, or both. Quantifying to the decimal point the exact role each medium played in the purchase of any product/service remains the impossible dream due to the incredible complexity and zig-zag nature of the purchase journey in today’s fragmented media environment.

  Have the right people on hand for these kinds of high-value, one-chance-for-a-first-impression opportunities in the form of compelling “support” expertise. Watching and listening to the Analytic Owl team in action made me smarter and more capable of explaining and positioning the benefits of Analytic Owl, Google Analytics, and analytics in general to an experienced, sophisticated audience. Utilize them.

  Do not hesitate to reach out to your analytics provider, milking them for every ounce of expertise in positioning their product. Our goal should be to become their “mini me” when it comes to positioning our data capabilities.

  These types of meetings often result in some side benefits. Analytics aside, this dialogue actually may have contributed to an unrelated solution as to how this client might improve on their current media channel quantification protocol.

I followed up with the agency CEO later that day to get his “take” on the session. In addition to agreeing that this type of data can enable them to elevate the radio conversation (the plan is to put Owl to work for this client), he said something that caused some uneasiness when he once again stated, “You know if I had access to this data several years ago, I would have likely been able to keep ‘X’ client advertising in radio.”

I’m not sure if Analytic Owl and other similar companies were even around two years ago but they are now. And while we can’t go back in time, each of us, who have access to analytic data, has the responsibility to make sure to review these analytic capabilities with every client, thus decreasing the likelihood of any agency or key advertiser ever saying, “If only we were aware of or had access to this data….”

As the industry’s analytic capabilities proliferate there needs to be uniform industry analytic standards so that all within the radio industry are speaking the same language. The good news is that this process also began last week.

Bob McCurdy is The Vice President of Sales for The Beasley Media Group.
This article was previously published in Radio Ink.

Hear! Hear! That’s Really All It Takes

Hear! Hear! That’s Really All It Takes

(By Bob McCurdy) It’s the spoken word, not love that makes the world go round, as we largely communicate in words and not expressions of deep affection, and certainly not pictures. Flash cards are rarely used to order a hamburger. And don’t believe that children’s rhyme baloney about “sticks and stones.” The spoken word can hurt, can start and end wars, end relationships, get one fired and hired, inspire, motivate, and modify behavior. So why isn’t it given more respect as an advertising vehicle? After all, how much “video” is really needed to communicate the reasons to buy one box of detergent over another or to remind someone to stop somewhere for a sandwich? Seriously.

Does someone need to be in our field of vision for us to react to what they’re saying? Is what we hear any less impactful if it is communicated over the phone, over a loudspeaker, around a corner, or from another room? The answer is obviously, no.

Word-of-mouth, words that come out of our mouths unaccompanied by any video, aka the spoken word, is generally thought throughout the ad world to be the most effective form of advertising in existence. The challenge with word-of-mouth has been and remains its lack of scale, although social media has provided some the past few years.

Having a trusted source speak about the benefits of a product or service is pure marketing gold. We are awash today in numbers. Data and digits are everywhere (which is good as it elevates accountability), algorithms are on the rise, but even in this digitized world of 2018 it’s still word-of-mouth, and not any algorithm or data set that sits at the top of the media-effectiveness pyramid.

What often goes under-appreciated by those in charge of the media selection process is that what enters our ears commands our attention and impacts our behavior. Do we need:

  • To see the police officer who is commanding us to stop, to stop?
  • To see the person exhorting us to duck, to duck?
  • To see the person on the other end of the phone to act upon what they are saying?
  • To see an ad spokesperson touting a sale to take advantage of the offer?
  • To see the Gecko to be reminded that we can save 15%?
  • To see the snake, or is its rattle sufficient to get us to stop in our tracks?
  • To see the person yelling “fire” to begin heading for the exit?
  • To see the trusted radio personality endorsing a product to get us to take action?

You get the “picture” in that we don’t always need a “picture” to effectively communicate and prompt action. In fact, there are times when a picture, video, or special effects can actually detract and distract.

Radio advertising, regardless of format, is all about the spoken word. Now factor in some “trust” and we’ve got something unique to radio when a radio personality does the “speaking.” When you think about it, word-of-mouth, the king of all media, is simply a human voice “fortified” by some trust. Sure sounds like radio to me.

Maybe moving forward, particularly when a personality endorsement is involved, radio should be thought of as word-of-mouth on a grand scale, taking its rightful place at the top of the media-effectiveness pyramid.

In the end, the media channel that was named by Popular Mechanics magazine as the second greatest “gadget” of all time behind the smartphone (television was #3), which relies solely on the spoken word, just might be the most efficient and effective way to communicate a marketing message or complement an existing ad campaign.

Bob McCurdy is Vice President of Sales for the Beasley Media Group.
This article was previously featured in Radio Ink

How To Win Over TV Advertisers

How To Win Over TV Advertisers

(By Bob McCurdy) One of our markets has been working hard with an exclusive TV advertiser (a well-known law firm) to convince them that a mix of media would deliver a greater bang for their ad dollar, in general, but also due to the sheer magnitude of their TV GRP weight.

A considerable amount of research has been forwarded and reviewed with this firm, with limited impact, and we’ve not been successful in securing a radio commitment — thus far.

So we decided to go a different route. We surmised that this firm’s TV advertising, due to its sheer volume, generated a tremendous amount of “audio” equity, which is often the byproduct of any extensive television investment. To test this hypothesis we posted a de-branded 30-second audio clip of this firm’s television commercial on our station websites, offering respondents the opportunity to win several free dinners for two, in return for only answering a couple of questions after “listening” to the firm’s TV commercial:

– Who is this advertisement for?

– How did you feel when you heard this?

252 listeners responded.

The results confirmed what we believed would be the case. Over half of the respondents correctly identified the advertiser after being exposed to only the audio of one of their many television commercials.

Amongst those who correctly identified the law firm, respondent comments also confirmed that the audio of the TV commercial was quite capable of communicating a message beyond correct advertiser identification.

The responses below are to the question, “How did you feel when you heard this?”

– At ease, secure and protected. (Male, 63)

– I feel that they are trustworthy and I would feel comfortable calling them. (Female, 49)

– Trustworthy. (Male, 49)

– Glad we have them on our side. (Male, 43)

– All warm and fuzzy. (Male, 55)

– Like I’m watching commercials on Fox 5 in the morning (Imagery Transfer). (Female 53)

– It’s great to have a local law firm looking out for us. (Male, 62)

– Like family. (Female, 52)

– Comforted. (Female, 42)

– That he can be trusted. (Female, 47)

– Trusted good guys. (Female, 33)

– Like I am watching TV. (Imagery Transfer) (Female, 40)

– I can trust them. (Female, 64)

Some of the negative comments supported our point of diminishing returns due to TV overkill:

– Annoyed! (Female, 19)

– I can’t turn on the TV without seeing this guy. (Male, 39)

– Extremely annoyed!!! (Female, 60)

– Annoyed. (Male, 32)

– Saw their ads a thousand times before. (Male, 20)

– Annoyed!! (Male, 62)

– I see these people in my sleep. Enough! (Male, 46)

These findings were not all that surprising. We saw the same phenomenon at work in 2013 when Katz conducted an “Ear vs Eye” study that produced similar results. You can find the article summarizing the study here and if you want to review the study itself, there’s a link at the end of the 2013 article that will take you to the entire study.

Many successful TV campaigns generate sufficient exposure, such that the narrator’s voice, the music in the commercial, the tagline, or the verbiage is all that is required to trigger extensive brand messaging. Such is the case with this law firm who is in the position to easily leverage their messaging on radio, reach the lightest quintile of TV viewers in this market who average only 5 minutes of TV viewing daily (they listen to the radio 110 minutes/day), and actually utilize radio to make their TV ad spend more effective.

Bob McCurdy is Vice President of Sales for the Beasley Media Group.
This article was previously featured in Radio Ink

It’s All In The Mind — So Tap It!

It’s All In The Mind — So Tap It!

(By Bob McCurdy) Several days ago there was a panel in NYC during Advertising Week that focused on the impact of audio on the human mind. Pranav Yadav, CEO at market research company Neuro-Insight U.S. and an extremely smart man, was quoted as saying, “Audio is ‘unique’ among media. While people can close their eyes or divert their focus away from a video message, they can’t turn their ears off. Just as important, radio can foster theater of the mind, allowing consumers to create their own visuals that can make the content more relatable. The visuals that you’re getting are ones you’re creating yourself based on your own imagination.”

This last sentence highlights why radio was the first fully addressable medium, even before digital, as we all process what we hear uniquely based upon our own personal experiences. Examples of this would be the unique images that each of us conjure up when we hear the words “home,” “mother,” “huge,” “office,” “boss” etc. The fact is that the spoken word or audio alone, without the benefit of any visual stimuli, is fully capable of activating Brodmann’s area 18 and 19, the so-called visual portion of our brain, otherwise known as our “mind’s eye.”

The theatre of the mind is also at play when we laugh at a joke or funny story. What causes us to laugh? The speaker’s delivery? Possibly. The setup? Maybe. But, more than likely, it was because we were able to “visualize” the scenario described. 

We’ve all muttered at some point, “I could just picture that.” And whether we were conscious of it or not, we all experienced firsthand our ability to generate pictures — not on paper, canvas, or screens, but in our mind based upon what entered our ears.

Our brain is the world’s most powerful screen, and our memories are largely comprised of pictures. We daydream, recall, and reflect largely in pictures. And the spoken word or audio often triggers these pictures, all without the benefit of a single pixel. The best part is that these “pictures” can’t be fast-forwarded, DVR’d, turned off, or — more importantly — completely ignored.

We’ve seen the theatre of the mind demonstrated in the past in several Katz studies. Respondents were asked to jot down what popped into their heads after exposure to an audio clip, such as Taco Bell’s “bong” sound or the Gecko’s voice. They provided surprisingly vivid descriptions of the advertisers’ products/mascots after exposure to only a few seconds of an audio clip, some of which included only a word or two, with others containing only music.

To better appreciate the human mind’s ability to generate pictures, try closing your eyes during a TV commercial break or even leave the room and just listen (that’s how a considerable amount of television advertising is experienced these days anyway), asking yourself a couple of questions:

– What popped into my head based upon what I just heard?

– What mental images did I just experience?

Give this imagery transfer exercise a shot, you might surprise yourself at what you “see.”

Yadav also said something extremely perceptive on the panel when he said, “This is perhaps why some movie adaptations of celebrated books fail — what you see on screen is very different from what you’d imagined.” When we read we actually listen (to ourselves), and whenever we listen we conjure up personal images based on our own experience/interpretation; and when a book is made into a movie, the images on the screen often won’t jibe with the images that we conjured up in our minds while reading. This doesn’t and can’t occur with a radio commercial, as every image is uniquely our own.

When Bill Ludwig was Chairman & CEO of Campbell Ewald, he said, “Radio can be used to position and target, to demonstrate and even display.” Display? Yep, when used properly with the right creative, radio can be the most visual of all media.

Bob McCurdy is Vice President of Sales for the Beasley Media Group.
This article was previously featured in Radio Ink

An Educated Client Is A More Valuable Client

An Educated Client Is A More Valuable Client

(By Bob McCurdy) I was speaking last week with a client whom I had not previously met, and right after the introduction pleasantries, her first question was, “OK, so tell me something I don’t know.” We ended up having a productive conversation and I believe, at the end, she bought into the fact that she was not speaking with a chipmunk. (more…)

Sell Like A Champion

Sell Like A Champion

(By Bob McCurdy) This week’s blog is not about the latest radio stats, Scarborough qualitative, reach/frequency, or any of the usual stuff. It is about the drive and determination required to become a world-class performer. (more…)