Dental Marketing: When Buying Radio, Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

When Buying Radio, Cheaper Isn’t Always BetterIn dental marketing, you get what you pay for.

Radio advertising offers a good example.

Radio stations base their rates on the size of their listenership. Typically 80% of their audience can be reached during the “prime time” of 6am to 7pm on weekdays.

Correspondingly, this is the most expensive time to advertise.

The “off hours” of weekday evenings, overnights and weekends have smaller audiences and are sold less expensively. They are cheaper because fewer people are listening.

Radio stations still need to sell this time. To do so, they often establish “packages” that contain little or no “prime” and a good deal of the nights and weekends. On paper, and especially to the untrained eye, these deals look good.

If the station sells time for up to $200 per minute, a package with an average rate of $50 looks like a steal. The efficient dentist, however, needs to make sure that he is not comparing apples to oranges. $50 is less than $200, obviously, but does it offer the same bang for the buck?

Experienced media buyers determine the value of commercial time by analyzing statistics like cost-per thousand (CPM) and cost per point (CPP). These figures illustrate the price per listener, which is the key number. Even more important is the price-per-target listener.

Your plan to reach middle-aged women cannot be efficiently executed if the listeners are largely teenage boys. When you examine a potential schedule, you need to look for the times when your money will work the hardest. It’s quite likely that the $200 spot in prime time will reach more than four times the target audience than the $50 off-hour commercial.

Let me be clear on a one thing. Non-prime commercials can be an effective part of your dental marketing radio campaign. I use them all the time to build frequency in campaigns that use mostly prime time. Some campaigns can be efficiently built on broad rotators, which run through all days and day-parts.

You just need to be clear on what the time is worth to get the most for your money.

And remember that cheaper is not always better.

Ed Ridgway has executed marketing campaigns for hundreds of businesses in the U.S. and Canada. He is nationally recognized for his ongoing campaigns with many of the top dental practices across the country.


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