Part of the problem is that retailers still expect people to come through the door saying they "heard it on the radio." That might work in some cases, but in reality most retailers are sadly disappointed - largely because we in radio have not set realistic expectations - when people don't dig up money in their backyard and scream the radio station's call letters as they enter their store.
Here are some ways we can effectively help retailers source more accurately, and measure where their traffic is coming from:
Sourcing sheets: You know what these are, and how poorly many are crafted. I recently saw one from an upscale massage clinic that asked new customers: "How did you hear about us?" (Remember, most people are there to get a massage, not to deal with questionnaires.) What would you write in the space provided? I have answered "drive by," "a friend referred me," "the Yellow Pages, because that's where I found the phone number, and because I don't write down phone numbers in the car."
What we really want to know is if customers were exposed to our message for the clinic on our radio stations.
Here's an example of a proper sourcing sheet:
"How did you decide to come to our massage clinic? Please check all factors that apply." (Note: List only those media vehicles the business is using currently, and make sure to list radio at the top.)
o Radio (important: List stations they are currently advertising on)
o WCVD ___ WERV ___ WOIU ___
o Atlanta Journal Constitution
o Fayette Women's Magazine
o Yellow Pages
o Internet Website
o Friend (referral) Name:________________
List the TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness) medium first, because this is the one most likely not considered responsible for bringing something tangible in the door. Always put radio first on the list. We are trying to determine if their media has synergy, and if they are targeting the right audience, which would ensure the greatest chance of success for the business. I want the walk-ins to check off as many as they can. This is vital information for retailers to understand that the new business coming through the door is representative of our combined efforts.
Here are two more steps we can take to ensure that radio gets credit for bringing customers into a business: Point of Sale (POS):
Let's assume there is an offer being made on the radio. Take control inside the business. Major manufacturers know exactly how much their sales increase when they have various media supporting in-store activity for their products. We can do the same inside the business with counter cards and ceiling hangers that state, "As heard on WXXX - $30 off every purchase over $100." Remember, POP (point of purchase) is when the directional is located right next to the product, which brings attention to the offer, if applicable. POS is anything that brings attention to the product at the retail level, which could include RTW (register-to-win) contests on displays inside the retailer.
Make sure everyone at the retail level understands, and is committed to the offer:
This is not brain surgery. Go into a retailer that uses newspaper, and you'll see "extras" of their advertisement hung all over the store (if it's a price-sensitive offer). This means that salespeople inside the business know what the newspaper is running. But do they know what's running on your station? Have you prepped everyone involved, and played the commercial for them? Prepping also provides the opportunity to develop a relationship with the line staff that actually sells the advertised product. At the end of the day, the store manager asks the sales manager and salespeople, "How were sales?" The next question remains: "Who brought them in?" If you've prepped the line staff, they know when traffic is good - and that the radio campaign is innately responsible for bringing in the traffic.
These are just some of the ways to ensure recall at the retail level and to realize credit for the increase in sales. Customers may not be shouting "I heard it on the radio" - but if we take these steps, we can limit the cancellations of long-term contracts.