Written Oct. 17, 2010 by Sean Ross in Advertising + Internet Radio + Marketing with 0 Comments
Until this week, I'd never gone to a radio station's half-off page.
It wasn't that I hadn't been asked. Half-off couponing is a big part of radio's Website and sales strategies these days, and is getting more on air-time accordingly. Listen to a station's Webstream and if you're lucky enough to hear anything other than hardsell PSAs inserted in the stopsets, it will likely be for the half-off page.
Half-off couponing seemed like a slight vehicle for so many of radio's hopes. But was that only because I had never looked? So I went to the half-off pages on our local stations. The exercise was complicated by the limited number of stations directly targeting Northern New Jersey, several of which (like our non-comm Jazz outlet or Christian AC) don't seem to do couponing at all.
The first station was a local AC outlet. I clicked through to the restaurant deal of the week. It was a new Mexican restaurant one town over from me. We'd actually been looking for a new Mexican restaurant. This one sounded worth trying. I didn't buy the coupon because it was $50 for a $100 certificate - more than we usually spend at a Mexican restaurant (and more than the mostly $25 for $50 deals I saw elsewhere).
An area Rock station's site had a neighborhood Italian restaurant an hour away. It also had a lot of retail that was too far away or not of interest. And for a Rock station, it also had a lot of day spas and nail salons and not many "guy" sponsors - there was one gaming option, however.
Another area AC station: There are a lot of Websites where the deals are probably too prominent, but here the deals require a lot of scrolling down the homepage. The restaurant deal comes from the same provider as the separately owned stations I'd already looked at. Another neighborhood Italian place that was too far out of range.
Finally, another Hot AC from about 45 minutes away: There were a bigger selection of deals here - comparable in variety (if not quite in depth) to a Val-Pak coupon mailer with the same sort of hit-or-miss ratio of things that you might actually use to things that weren't relevant at the moment. There were tubing passes and tuxedo rental. The one I would have used was the two-for-one certificate at a dry cleaner - if it had been in the area.
I also looked at the Websites of my New York P1 and P2 stations. One didn't seem to do couponing. One had a big cluster-wide program, but most of it was local restaurants and retail. There were some unusual offerings here: botox, plastic surgery, tattoos, and $500 worth of rent at a rent-an-office suite for $250. None of the cluster's many national and regional sponsors were represented, making me wonder if stations are only thinking of these deals as a way to sell something to the local retailer who can't afford a traditional campaign, or if larger advertisers have been asked and have no interest.
The good news here is that going through the coupons wasn't quite as overwhelming as, say, paging through an envelope full of Val-Pak where, even if some of the categories are of interest, it's easy to glaze over before you're halfway through. But, so far, the payoff ratio was lower. But I did get a new Mexican restaurant, maybe, out of it. And I will be telling them how I found them.