Report: Including Radio In Media Campaigns Significantly Improves Consumer Awareness
May 7, 2014

Marketing Evolution and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment have released a study demonstrating the effectiveness of radio in building brand awareness and delivering against client goals when included as a significant part of their media campaigns. 

The study measured the ROI on a new menu awareness marketing campaign for Romano's Macaroni Grill, which ran across national cable television networks and four targeted Clear Channel radio markets ­Tampa, Fla.; Cleveland, Ohio; Denver, Colo.; and Dallas, Texas ­ from September 16, 2013 through October 13, 2013 targeting adults 25 ­ 54 years of age.  The study showed that radio ads are extremely successful in 'sonic branding' efforts and drove an actual increase in Top of Mind Awareness for Macaroni Grill and that TV and radio work well together when consumers are exposed to both. In addition, Marketing Evolution's research showed that combining TV and radio marketing would yield higher Top of Mind Awareness scores with no additional investment.

"This study is crucial in showing the power that radio has to connect with consumers," said Tim Castelli, President of National Sales, Marketing and Partnerships for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. "This research proves that audio advertising is very effective, especially when combined with TV ads, in having a significant influence on diners' decisions on where to eat."

Key insights and findings from the study include:
* For Macaroni Grill, modeling demonstrates that more impact was achieved with a 77 percent TV and 23 percent radio campaign-spend mix.
* Radio is effective in communicating the "Great Taste" message for Macaroni Grill.
* The campaign significantly increased Top of Mind Awareness (+8 points) for Romano's Macaroni Grill in the radio test markets.
* Combining radio with TV had a stronger impact on Top of Mind Awareness per exposure than just TV alone.
* The Marketing Evolution model shows that the 60-second radio spots were as cost effective as the 15-second TV ads and conveys longer, more custom engaging messages that drive consumer action.
* The campaign areas that included radio impacted all stages of the purchase funnel, from brand awareness and affinity, to actual sales.

Details on the Research Study:
Many restaurant marketers seek to increase Top of Mind Awareness because when consumers are considering options of where to dine out, the restaurants that are top of mind get a higher percentage of sales. For many large restaurant marketers, the standard strategy for building Top of Mind Awareness is to turn to television advertising. The research asked, "What is the value of augmenting the standard TV strategy with another medium, such as radio?" Clear Channel, an expert in effective audio advertising, designed 60-second radio advertisements to run in the above test markets; Marketing Evolution then measured whether radio drove an incremental impact on Top of Mind Awareness.

Marketing Evolution also sought to compare the cost benefit of a TV-only strategy versus a combined TV and radio approach. It found that the 60-second, well designed radio advertisements added meaningful value to Romano's Macaroni Grill campaign of 15 second TV ads; models based on actual test results showed that the marketer could boost impact by 34 percent with a mix of 77 percent TV and 23 percent radio advertisements. This research did not examine the role of other media beyond TV and radio in the mix, as the purpose of the research was to focus on whether radio could complement TV for a restaurant advertiser seeking to increase Top of Mind Awareness.

"This research reinforces the power of surround sound marketing," said Rex Briggs, CEO of Marketing Evolution. "In this case, we saw that TV alone isn't as powerful as a combination of TV and radio advertising. Food-oriented marketers should take note: well-constructed, longer form audio ads, such as the 60 second ads created by Clear Channel for Romano's Macaroni Grill, can add meaningful value for marketers." 

"The test with Clear Channel provided us with valuable learnings," said Eric Solomon, Senior Vice President and Managing Partner for Universal McCann. "As the study showed, adding radio to the mix can positively impact not only short term retail traffic objectives, but branding and sales metrics as well. We definitely take these learnings to heart, and in the future, will surely include radio in our consideration set as we work to achieve all of our clients' goals."

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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