Agencies Rate Radio’s Marketing Expertise Higher Than Advertisers.


Agencies are more likely than advertisers themselves to have opinions of local media companies. And when it comes to perceptions about radio’s marketing expertise and digital savviness, agencies rate radio higher than local advertisers do.


For its annual survey of media buyers, Borrell Associates surveyed 2,811 local advertisers and 701 ad agencies between April and June. As earlier reported by Inside Radio, the perception of radio sellers as expert marketers is higher than it is for any other type of sales rep, and the perception of digital savvy of radio reps is now also the highest. When buyers were asked which sales reps are considered savvy about marketing, radio (41%) topped all other forms of traditional media.


But ad agencies gave radio higher marks than local advertisers in the survey. One reason why is that local advertisers simply don’t have an opinion either way – anywhere from 16% to 25 of advertisers weren’t able to rate perceived marketing expertise for the five media types surveyed. Nearly eight in ten (79%) agency respondents said radio sellers have moderate to substantial expertise, compared to 70% for local advertisers.Both groups were most likely to rate radio’s marketing expertise as “moderate” (33% of agencies, 29% of advertisers) or substantial (32% of agencies, 29% of advertisers). Only a smattering of both camps (4% apiece) said local radio companies have no marketing expertise.


A similar trend emerged when Borrell asked local media buyers about the digital savviness of local media companies. Agencies were four times more likely to have an opinion than advertisers and they gave radio higher marks. Here again, eight in ten agencies (79%) perceive radio sellers to be slightly to very digitally savvy, compared to 65% of local advertisers. In both groups the highest percentages fell into the “moderately digitally savvy” rating (40% of agencies and 31% of advertisers).


When the agency and advertiser responses are averaged together, the perception of radio sellers as expert marketers is higher than it is for any other type of local sales rep with 41% perceiving radio as expert marketers. Five years ago, radio stood at 31%. That 10-point increase was the biggest in the survey. And when asked which sales reps are considered digitally savvy, radio and broadcast TV (28% each) led the field. Again, radio was the biggest gainer en route from worst to first: In the 2016 survey, the medium stood at just 15%.


In another example of the disconnect between agencies and advertisers, 16% of local agencies think local advertisers are too reliant on digital marketing channels compared to just 5% for local advertisers.


And in a strong vote of confidence for radio, seven in ten agencies surveyed said they purchased/managed radio buys for their clients in 2020, making it the highest traditional media on the chart. In fact, radio was the only traditional media to place among the top five media types purchased or managed by agencies for their clients, eclipsed only by social media (77%), online banner/display ads (71%) and search engine management (71%). Radio outperformed streaming video, out of home, broadcast TV, newspapers and cable TV.

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