En­hanc­ing ra­dio broad­cast­ing for con­tent de­liv­ery

De­spite the dis­rup­tions caused by emerg­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies, the ef­fec­tive­ness of the ra­dio in terms of fre­quency, pen­e­tra­tion, cost, and cov­er­age will not di­min­ish.

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - Contents - By Akachi Ngwu

The mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion mix is de­signed to cre­ate aware­ness, build loy­alty and gen­er­ate pa­tron­age and sales for a com­pany's prod­uct or ser­vice. The com­mu­ni­ca­tion mix vari­ables could en­tail above the line (ATL) or be­low the line (BTL) com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy, or a com­bi­na­tion of both. With the ATL strat­egy, the ob­jec­tive is to reach out to the mass au­di­ence and it is of­ten for the pur­pose of brand aware­ness. It in­volves us­ing tele­vi­sion, ra­dio, print, out-of-home ad­ver­tis­ing, among oth­ers. The fo­cus of this ar­ti­cle is ra­dio broad­cast­ing.

Ra­dio plays a strate­gic role in mass mar­ket­ing as a re­sult of its high fre­quency, reach, and pen­e­tra­tion across var­i­ous con­sumer mar­ket seg­ments. But as dis­cussed in my ar­ti­cle in the Au­gust 2017 edi­tion of Fi­nan­cial Nige­ria, me­dia frag­men­ta­tion has be­come more per­va­sive across ra­dio, tele­vi­sion, and the print me­dia. This has cre­ated com­pe­ti­tion be­tween old and new me­dia as well as op­por­tu­ni­ties for brands to reach tech­savvy con­sumers. In fact, the ra­dio me­dia plat­form has been more frag­mented in re­cent times than other me­dia chan­nels in the ATL cat­e­gory. But me­dia frag­men­ta­tion in ra­dio broad­cast­ing has, for one, en­gen­dered more com­pet­i­tive pro­gram­ming, ser­vice de­liv­ery, and cost.

With the ad­vent of so­cial me­dia in mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion, it was be­lieved that the end had come for the tra­di­tional me­dia chan­nels. How­ever, time has proved that hy­poth­e­sis wrong. In­dus­try ev­i­dence sug­gests that so­cial net­works and tra­di­tional me­dia are com­ple­ment­ing each other in a hy­brid com­mu­ni­ca­tions value chain.

We have seen where ra­dio is used to achieve mes­sage or con­tent am­pli­fi­ca­tion for so­cial me­dia cam­paigns and vice versa. Among the tra­di­tional me­dia, the ra­dio en­joys a cost ad­van­tage in both pro­duc­tion and spot book­ing. There­fore, it is pre­ferred by ad­ver­tis­ers with low cam­paign bud­gets and those seek­ing higher mes­sage fre­quency across its tar­get au­di­ence.

Mo­bile phones, in­clud­ing smart phones, wire­less head­phones, and other mo­bile de­vices have helped to deepen the pen­e­tra­tion of ra­dio lis­ten­er­ship – the au­di­ence for a ra­dio pro­gramme. Au­di­ences across de­mo­graph­ics now lis­ten to their pre­ferred ra­dio sta­tions and on-air per­son­al­i­ties while jog­ging and ex­er­cis­ing. Op­por­tu­nity also ex­ists for mo­bile phone man­u­fac­tur­ers to col­lab­o­rate with ra­dio sta­tions to drive the use of mo­bile phones as de­vices to in­crease lis­ten­er­ship. This can be done by in­clud­ing apps for part­ner ra­dio sta­tions dur­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ing of the de­vices.

In­creased lis­ten­er­ship is a strong bar­gain­ing chip for ra­dio sta­tions in ne­go­ti­a­tions with ad­ver­tis­ers. Ad­ver­tis­ing spend­ing over a ten-year pe­riod on ra­dio grew from N5.7 bil­lion in 2006 to N15.1 bil­lion in 2015, ac­cord­ing to 2015 Me­di­aFacts, pub­lished by Me­di­aReach OMD, a spe­cial­ist me­dia com­pany. The telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gi­ants Air­tel, MTN and Eti­salat (now 9 Mo­bile) were the top three ad­ver­tis­ers on ra­dio in 2015.

Niche broad­cast­ing is gain­ing mo­men­tum in ra­dio broad­cast­ing. This has in­formed the evolv­ing strate­gic drive by ra­dio sta­tions to fo­cus their pro­gram­ming on de­fined tar­get mar­kets. Niches do not ex­ist. They are cre­ated by iden­ti­fy­ing needs, wants, and re­quire­ments that are poorly ad­dressed or ne­glected by ex­ist­ing firms in the in­dus­try and de­vel­op­ing ser­vices and goods to sat­isfy those needs.

Re­cent de­vel­op­ment in ra­dio broad­cast­ing has brought to the fore the need for niche­man­ship – a term used to de­scribe the art of skill­fully se­lect­ing mar­ket seg­ments and strate­gi­cally po­si­tion­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices in that

As re­ported by the 2015 Me­di­aFacts re­port, La­gos ac­counted for 37% of the to­tal ad spend on ra­dio in 2015, while the north­east­ern re­gion of the coun­try got zero spend. This could be at­trib­ut­able to the on­go­ing in­sur­gency in the re­gion.

seg­ment. The plethora of ra­dio sta­tions has ne­ces­si­tated the need for niche­man­ship by ra­dio sta­tions to tar­get un­der­served con­sumer seg­ments.

La­gos State com­mands the high­est num­ber of ra­dio broad­cast sta­tions in Nige­ria with an es­ti­mated num­ber of thirty sta­tions as at the time of writ­ing this ar­ti­cle. As re­ported by the 2015 Me­di­aFacts re­port, La­gos ac­counted for 37% of the to­tal ad spend on ra­dio in 2015, while the north­east­ern re­gion of the coun­try got zero spend. This could be at­trib­ut­able to the on­go­ing in­sur­gency in the re­gion.

Hith­erto, ra­dio sta­tions adopted a gen­er­al­ist ap­proach to pro­gram­ming. But we are now see­ing a dif­fer­ent ap­proach of iden­ti­fy­ing mar­ket seg­ments and pro­vid­ing spe­cific pro­grammes suited for con­sumers in those seg­ments. Of note are sports ra­dio sta­tions, women ra­dio sta­tions and children-in­spired pro­grammes.

Be­cause ra­dio broad­cast­ing is au­di­ence­and lis­ten­er­ship-driven, the strat­egy to po­si­tion as a niche broad­caster will en­hance and op­ti­mize re­source mo­bi­liza­tion for great con­tent de­liv­ery. And with niche broad­cast­ing or nar­row­cast­ing, ad­ver­tis­ers are sure to reach a de­fined tar­get au­di­ence shar­ing the same de­mo­graphic at­tributes, and pref­er­ences. An­other form of niche broad­cast­ing is pod­cast­ing, in­ter­net-based ra­dios that are tar­geted at spe­cial­ist au­di­ences.

So­ci­etal val­ues are some­times in­flu­enced by the me­dia. Through con­tent plan­ning and de­liv­ery, ra­dio sta­tions are in a prime po­si­tion to help shape the val­ues of their au­di­ences. Part of the ways ra­dio broad­cast sta­tions can drive so­ci­etal change is by part­ner­ing with gov­ern­ments, de­vel­op­ment in­sti­tu­tions and civil so­ci­ety. The 'Change Be­gins with Me' cam­paign of Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari's ad­min­is­tra­tion is an op­por­tu­nity for the gov­ern­ment to part­ner with ra­dio sta­tions to ad­dress the moral deca­dence in our so­ci­ety. But as a reg­u­lar ra­dio lis­tener, the com­mu­ni­ca­tion strat­egy of the cam­paign has been very poor.

I would also sug­gest that ra­dio sta­tions should take up such pub­lic cam­paign mes­sages as their cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity to ed­u­cate the pub­lic. The essence of that cam­paign will be de­feated if the pen­e­tra­tion and fre­quency of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion are weak.

The com­mu­ni­ca­tions value chain is a mix­ture of me­dia ve­hi­cles de­signed to in­form, ed­u­cate, pro­mote, sen­si­tize, and elicit call-to-ac­tion for a de­fined ob­jec­tive. The ob­jec­tive could be for pub­lic or cor­po­rate in­ter­est. Prop­erly har­ness­ing the po­ten­tial of ra­dio broad­cast­ing can help achieve call-toac­tion. De­spite the dis­rup­tions caused by emerg­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies, the ef­fec­tive­ness of the ra­dio in terms of fre­quency, pen­e­tra­tion, cost, and cov­er­age will not di­min­ish.

Akachi Ngwu is the Founder/CEO of Con­sumer Scores In­ter­na­tional Lim­ited, a La­gos-based in–store ad­ver­tis­ing so­lu­tions provider. He is an alum­nus of the Busi­ness Lead­er­ship Pro­gramme of Leap Africa. Email: akachi.ngwu@csinic­head-ng.com. Ar­ti­cle was first pub­lished in the July 2017 edi­tion of Fi­nan­cial Nige­ria mag­a­zine.

Akachi Ngwu

Ra­dio broad­cast equipment

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