The number 10 Album on this week’s Billboard Top 200 hasn’t received any airplay on the 1,000 or so radio stations that factor into the chart. “High School Musical,” the Soundtrack to a Disney made for TV movie also placed nine tracks in the Billboard Hot 100 (more).
Forty-five percent of the album’s sales came from digital retailers. That’s 24,000 sales and 341,000 downloaded tracks. This may not represent a torrent of change but it’s a good-sized stream. So much for the National Association Of Broadcaster’s “You Hear It Here First” marketing campaign (NAB).
I’m not saying that traditional radio is in danger of losing relevance (well actually I am), but this story brings up one of the most common questions advertisers ask. "What impact will satellite and iPods have on my radio advertising? " My short answer is, “More choices equal more fragmentation equals smaller audiences." But all things are seldom equal and frankly the vast majority of local advertisers could increase the return on their advertising investment even in the face of smaller audiences.
Consider the following equation:
Return on Investment = Audience x Schedule x Message Impact.
Let’s assume that the size of the audience will shrink. You can still improve the return on your investment by improving your schedule and your message. Even today you don’t have to advertise on the biggest stations to get results. With the right schedule and message you could successfully advertise on a station featuring post-modern Lithuanian orchestral music (sample).
So don’t worry about tomorrow. If your message and schedule are anemic, you aren’t seeing the results you deserve today. But you already know that don’t you?