This email is a week too late, apparently. I apologize for not emailing last week to thank you for that insightful Monday Morning Memo about radio buying. I am one of those two-dozen you spoke of in the Memo this morning. We are only buying radio spots with one station currently in our Fresno market and looking to buy in our San Francisco Bay Area market again, after taking a long break from radio. I have been wondering if we are buying properly and using the right station and have been a little overwhelmed with which station to go with in the Bay Area, as there are so many and the prices are SO much higher there. That email was clear. As you explained what not to do at the end (with Gross Rating Points), that was the only formula I recognized. I laughed out loud reading that, suddenly understanding what had been making me so nervous with buying radio. This is what EVERYONE does because that’s what they tell you is right! If it worked, everyone would be buying radio…and be happy with it…and companies wouldn’t be going under left and right. I forwarded your email last week to our owner (my father), who has been so generous as to let me attend two of your workshops over the past year (New Customer Acquisition and Magical Worlds) and he loved it!
A quick story- we had been down-sizing yellow page ads over the years and recently pulled out of all our yellow pages, except for bold listings (we were in nine books). We had the first full-page ad for the plumbing section and our rep kept begging me not to pull the spot out. She informed me that she did not want to be the one who lost the oldest running spot in that book from 1964. We had been doing the SAME marketing since 1964?! Well, if that isn’t an eye-opener, I don’t know what is! Each year we look through the book and cross off all the companies with half-page, full page and double-truck ads who have gone out of business. There are SO many. Again, that should be a warning, but those reps just don’t see it. Sigh. Whatever. I have a friend who works in another town for this yellow page book, and heard through the grape vine that we had pulled the oldest ad of the book. Needless to say, we are not liked by them at all.
I am much more confident going into buying radio simply because I know a little more of what not to do. I was really looking forward to more. Bummer. Well, I’ll just have to read more of your books! Can’t wait til the next time I get to make it back to beautiful Austin for some more Salt Lick and thunder storms!
Thanks so much for all you do for small businesses!
It is much appreciated by some of us out there.
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Having purchased radio advertising in the majority of cities, towns, villages and hamlets of the United States and Canada, you deserve to know that you’re facing one of the three toughest radio markets in North America. For the record, the other two are San Jose, (your nearby Silicon Valley friend,) and Hartford, Connecticut.
I’m sorry if this sounds like a sales pitch, Andrea. It really isn’t. But I feel compelled to warn you that you’re walking into a very tough situation and I wanted you to have some kind of viable “Plan B.”
Devin Wright, my chief media negotiator, occasionally takes on media-buying projects for companies not on my client list that want an experienced hand at the helm. I have no doubt that you could do a solid job of media buying on your own, but Devin would save you a lot more money than he cost you. The big question will be budget. San Francisco is the fourth largest city in the U.S. with more than 7 million people in the total survey area. The ratio of available ad dollars to total market size is probably pretty ugly. It would be easier to learn to ride a bicycle on a Harley Davidson than to learn media negotiation by trying to penetrate San Francisco with a smallish radio budget.
The Bad News is that Devin is a professional advertising consultant. It’s what he does for a living, so I won’t ask him to advise you (or anyone else) for free. (So those readers out there who are thinking, “Maybe I could just bounce a quick question off him,” get that out of your head, please.)
Devin can be reached at (512) 295-5700 during business hours. (Central Time)
– Roy H. Williams
IMPORTANT NOTE: Advertising agencies receive a 15% “agency commission” on schedules negotiated with TV and radio stations. Devin Wright, like all my other Wizard of Ads partners, does not pocket this 15% commission but leaves it with you, the client, as an additional savings off the already-great rates he negotiates for you. His fee is typically 6 percent of the amount he spends on your behalf. This leaves you with the other 9 percent to put happily in your pocket, or better yet, to leverage toward purchasing an even stronger schedule. First he gives you better rates and a stronger schedule for your budget. Then he delivers an additional 9 percent net reduction in cost. Not bad, huh? And if for any reason Devin can’t take on your project, the amazing Joe Hamilton is probably available to save the day. (All four of the guys below wear tights and a cape under their street clothes.)