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Research Shows AM/FMs Deliver For B2Bs.

Note to business-to-business advertisers: AM/FM radio is ready when you are.

An analysis in Westwood One's weekly blog notes that while B2Bs represent some of the biggest ad spenders on AM/FM, just 5% of them are in the ad market at any time. “Reaching the business-to-business decision maker is no easy task,” Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says. “Knowing that 95% of businesses are not in market, the smart marketing strategy for B2B brands is to focus on future buyers, to grow awareness, recall, trust, [and] buying propensity. The key is to be known before you're needed.”

As it happens, AM/FM radio has already proven its effectiveness with brands marketing to small business decision makers such as Staples, Indeed, Dell, Intuit, and ZipRecruiter, as well as those targeting facility managers (Grainger) or IT decision makers (CDW), adding significant reach to any TV-only plan. “B2B brands consistently are finding that their TV buy can be complemented and supplemented with the overlay of radio,” Bouvard says.

In fact, according to Scarborough, AM/FM reaches 85% of all business decision makers weekly, well ahead of cable or broadcast TV (64% and 63%, respectively), podcasts (38%) or newspapers (20%). Furthermore, the medium reaches more than four in five (84-86% of) business decision makers working in management positions, or who purchase information technology, business travel or convention arrangements, overnight delivery services, or office equipment and supplies.

Where to reach B2B execs on AM/FM radio? Of the seven formats with double-digit reach, according to Scarborough, six are music-based, with news/talk in the middle and sports just below those seven. “There is a myth that business-to-business professionals only listen to news/talk and spoken word AM/FM radio formats,” Bouvard says. “There's a wide and diverse variety of programming formats that offer significant reach for B2B advertisers.”

Citing a study of 400 IT decision makers conducted by market researcher MESH Experience, the blog notes that 90% listen to AM/FM radio in a typical week, ahead of all other media platforms. Among this sample, 57% frequently or occasionally listen to classic rock, followed by news/talk (51%), contemporary rock and oldies/classic hits (49% each), AC (48%), and top 40 or sports (47% each).

Additionally, the MESH study shows that heavy AM/FM radio listeners are more likely to be aware of, familiar with, positive about, and show intent to purchase the IT brand, vs. heavy TV viewers. “Across the board, radio outperforms TV,” Bouvard says. “What's interesting about this case study is the TV budget for this particular brand was five times larger than the radio investment, so radio's definitely punching above its weight.”

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