We live in a strange world, one in which the presence of the global market place is evident in a way it has never been before. Even as more emphasis is placed on individuality, there are forces in play which are turning people into virtual clones of one another, albeit in different packaging. We all listen to the same countdowns, watch the same shows, we even hear the same commercials, all because of the growing presence of giant companies.
Radio is no exception to the trend. There are a handful of companies out there who control many of the most influential radio stations on the continent. Ten people, at most, have the final say in what music will be heard by millions. It's not just music either; a company who wants to advertise on these stations must pony up big bucks in order to appeal to the market. In order to afford this, they too have to be epic in size.
The combination of huge advertising dollars needed to buy national radio spots and the perception of diversity have done a lot to harm public broadcasting, both in radio and in television. Radio is particular has suffered, not from a lack of listeners, but rather a lack of advertisers.
In addition to global companies pushing smaller ones out of the way through finances in the radio marketplace, there is also a perception that Internet marketing is more efficient. A company putting on a real estate training course, for example, might see it as cheaper and more efficient to advertise on a web page than on a national radio station.
That perception has been fed by countless websites, most of whom mean well. In fact, it is proven that Internet advertising is highly effective, and definitely has the potential to reach a much larger audience than public radio.
However, if one were to look at size in a ratio comparison to effectiveness in marketing, advertising on public radio would be equal to, if not greater than, Internet marketing in terms of efficiency for certain advertisers.
This is particularly true of local advertising. What good does it do a company who provides products exclusively for a local market to know that millions of Americans know about the existence of their shop thanks to their Internet site? Advertising has always been, and will always be, about effectively targeting one's market.
The Internet is more of an atomic bomb than a sniper rifle in the world of advertising. Sure, you can blanket a public with information about your product or services, but outside of your market area, who is really likely to be interested in that information?
By advertising local stores and services on the radio, you have a way to target your exact market. The price isn't as high as some numbers would have you believe, either. While you can't expect monthly spots to be too cheap, radio advertising can be highly cost effective. As an example, a dental office serves a fairly local market area - people do not want to travel far to keep an appointment, even if it's only once or twice a year. At Vitres Etudiants the owners have found that they do need to have a website to communicate their services to potential patients, but having a marketing presence in each local area (Hull, Montreal, Levis, etc) they service, is beneficial to the goal of attracting new patients.