Live on the air
‘This is Woody Waters at Pensacola Glass Co. A broken windshield can be a shattering experience. Relax and leave the job to Pensacola Glass, a member of the Lynx family of auto glass experts. Our certified installers will not only do the job, they’ll do the Pensacola Glass 11-point quality check to make sure the job is done right. We’ll even give you a warranty that is honored here and at every shop participating with Lynx around the country. Pensacola Glass will come to you, or you can come to us at 3901
If you tune in to
I have the right to choose
For Scott Owens, owner of Excel Auto Glass in
Frustrated with losing customers to “preferred vendors,” Owens launched his “I have the right to choose” campaign. The campaign consists of a series of radio ads that walk the listener through an auto glass claims call to an insurance agent. In response to the fictional agent’s statement, “If Excel doesn’t accept what we pay, you will have to pay out of pocket,” the educated consumer responds, “Excel has direct insurance billing. I’m taking my car there!” The spot concludes by reminding listeners that they have “the right to choose” the shop that they’d like to handle their glass repair or replacement.
“I’m giving them the education to prevent them from being steered to another shop” by providing listeners with responses to potential insurance company statements, Owens says.
The customer’s right to choose is a theme that runs throughout Waters’ advertising campaign as well. “We want them to recognize that they have the exclusive right to choose who they want to do their work.”
Attracting the ‘cash’ customer
Educating the consumer about his or her right to choose is only one piece of the puzzle, Waters says. “Our main goal is to educate and inform potential auto glass customers that Pensacola Glass provides quality products and services and can handle all of their auto glass needs.” The fastest-growing segment of potential customers consists of individuals who do not have full-coverage insurance and must pay for their auto glass replacement in cash, he says. Others contributing to this market segment are policyholders whose insurance deductibles are high enough that the claim is essentially a cash sale. “The cash sale market is the biggest existing market in the business,” Waters says.
Attracting the cash customer and new customers means educating them about the importance of safe, quality installations and the use of certified technicians. Both Owens and Waters talk about certification and safety in their radio ads, as does Tom Lee, president of Lee & Cates Glass Inc., headquartered in
“You want an effective ad to cement the listeners’ identification of the product with the business, rather than with the generic idea of using the kinds of products and services you sell,” Waters says. “In other words, if you run Joe’s Auto Glass, you want to not only tempt the listener into getting a new windshield, but to come to you rather than a competitor.”
No matter how good the radio or television ad is, if the right people don’t hear it, it’s a waste of time and money. Both Waters and Lee advise researching various radio station demographics before committing to a schedule. Waters, for example, targets professionals, who, he says, are the decision-makers when it comes to AGR purchases. “I wanted to target a specific audience, primarily businesses, and the customers in their waiting rooms,” he says. “Most of the businesses in my area have the CNN station playing in their offices.”
The same goes for television ads. Lee focuses on major stations such as NBC, CBS and Fox, running the majority of his ads between and during shows such as Good Morning America, and avoiding programs that don’t complement his company’s culture, for example, The Jerry Springer Show.
Pensacola Glass Co.’s 30-second radio ads run six times in a 24-hour period, while Lee & Cates advertisements appear on television 24 to 26 weeks a year.
Media planners familiar with the market can help you create a plan that balances what you can afford to spend on advertising with the number of ads, stations and frequency of airing to meet your goals.
How much does it cost?
The cost of advertising on air varies depending on geographical location. Radio and television stations in urban centers are obviously more expensive than those in rural areas. Other contributing factors include the frequency in which the ads run, the time of day and the stations.
Take radio, for example. Waters runs 30-second ads, six times a day, seven days a week in
As for television, cable advertisements are much less expensive than network ads. If you commit to 30 network ads, Lee says, they will cost an average of $100 a spot. Without a commitment to run a predetermined number of ads, major television networks charge $60 to $250 per ad, he says. “And if you want to be on during Seinfeld reruns, you’re going to be paying hundreds of dollars for a 30-second spot,” he says. “Primetime, your prices go through the roof.”
Cable, on the other hand, is much cheaper and can be just as effective. A 30-second ad can run anywhere from $5 to $25 a spot, depending on the time of day the advertisement appears.
Whether on the radio or television, the more you advertise, the cheaper each ad will be. “Radio advertising is really cost-effective in my area,” Owens says. “A lot of radio stations are willing to provide signing bonuses if you sign a yearlong contract with them.
The radio station in my area, for example, will give me a free mention during the morning news or school-closing reports. ‘This segment is brought to you by Excel Auto Glass.’” Owens also has received a secondary Internet site through the radio station as a signing bonus. “It’s cost-effective for me to use radio advertising; it just depends on how you approach the issue of educating the consumer.”
If you aren’t sure just how to do that, hire an ad agency, Lee says. “First determine how much you’re willing to spend; then get an agency,” he advises. “Once you start advertising, you will get calls from other stations trying to get you to advertise with them. An ad agency will field your calls and help you create a budget.” Larger ad agencies can often negotiate better pricing by bundling your company’s advertising needs with those of others, offering the station a package deal.
Return on investment
Waters, Lee and Owens all report having had success with their advertising campaigns. “One of the toughest things to determine in advertising is your return on investment,” Waters says. In an effort to gauge the success of the radio campaign, customer service representatives at Pensacola Glass ask customers why they chose their shop to handle their auto glass needs. “I know we’ve had a positive response to our radio ads because people are in here telling us they heard our ad on the radio, called and came in,” the general manager says.
Lee, who stars in both the radio and television ads for Lee & Cates Glass, reports experiencing similar results. “The success of our advertising campaign is evident in the fact that our business is growing. Advertising does work, but when you commit to spending money on advertising, you can’t be the low-cost provider. We get a lot of phone calls, but it’s up to our salespeople to sell the product, so we work to make our people better salespeople rather than order-takers.”
“The first week I ran the radio ad, I had a dozen new customers walk in the door,” Owens says. In addition to radio spots, the Excel Auto Glass owner printed up bumper stickers and T-shirts bearing the “I have the right to choose” slogan. “Consumers will actually recite the ads to me,” he says. “It’s all about consumer awareness; it makes a big difference.”
How to ensure your radio ad is among the best
Radio Recall Research Inc. of
• Number of words: The more words you use in a radio ad, the more effective it is
• Brand mentions: Radio ads in which the company brand was mentioned several times, particularly in the beginning of the ad, were more compelling
• Number of ideas: Keep the number of ideas mentioned in the radio ad to less than four
• Execution format: Ads that consist of straight announcements or “sing-and-sell” messages were least effective.
Scott Owens, owner, Excel Auto Glass, Box 675, 1789 Route 9W, Lake Katrine, N.Y. 12449; 845/336-0800, www.excelautoglass.com
Woody Waters, general manager, Pensacola Glass Co., 3901 N. Palafox St., Pensacola, Fla. 32505; 850/433-8348, www.pensacolaglass.com
Tom Lee, president, Lee & Cates Glass Inc.,