Studies: Radio’s B2B Impact For Marketers Goes Far Beyond Spoken Word Formats.


From small business decision makers at Staples, Indeed and ZipRecruiter, to brands focused on facility managers such as Grainger, some of the most successful broadcast radio and podcast advertisers are business-to-business brands. Although news/talk is often thought of first for B2B advertisers, recent research studies show business decision makers listen to a wide variety of AM/FM formats.


A series of MARU/Matchbox studies revealed that decision makers in a major B2B brand category listened to broad array of AM/FM radio formats, including top 40 (33%), rock and classic rock (28% a piece), news/talk (27%) and country 23%.


A new post on Westwood One’s “Everyone’s Listening” blog highlights five B2B brand case studies that saw significant results from AM/FM radio advertising.


In one, an unidentified major B2B firm – which built their brand with massive AM/FM radio campaigns that generated a monthly reach of 64% – spread their investments over virtually every radio format. “The B2B brand bought broad reach campaigns that used just about every AM/FM radio format to the proportion of total listening,” Westwood One and Cumulus Media Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says. While a few formats punched over or under their weight, the amount of impressions most delivered for the B2B campaign was consistent with their percentage of total radio AQH share. For example, 11.1% of the brand’s buy went to urban, representing 12.1% of total U.S. listening. 8.9% of the brand’s buys were on classic rock stations, very close to the 8.2% of total U.S. AM/FM radio listening to classic rock.


The broad reach of the 2019 radio campaign hit the bullseye, delivering a 35% increase in unaided awareness, 30% improvement in current usage and a 33% lift in consideration.


Another MARU/Matchbox study found HR software decision makers frequently listened to a wide variety of radio formats – 13% more formats than the average frequent listener.


The formats with the greatest reach among HR decision makers included classic rock, rock, top 40, news/talk, sports, and oldies/classic hits. A MARU/Matchbox pre/post campaign effect study found AM/FM radio lifted awareness by 50%, usage by 26% and average brand perception by 29%.


A MARU/Matchbox study of construction equipment decision makers found that those who were extremely likely to purchase or rent equipment for their company in the next year were 12% more likely to be heavy AM/FM radio listeners. And among in-the-market construction equipment decision makers, rock formats, perhaps unsurprisingly, generated the largest reach of all formats. Nearly six in 10 (59%) said they frequently listened to rock, 54% to classic rock, 47% to country, 46% to sports and 43% to news/talk. Brand equity measures for the construction equipment rental firm were much stronger among heavy radio listeners.


Further illustrating broadcast radio’s ability to produce results for B2B marketers, the blog post recaps a series of Nielsen studies conducted over a five-year period for CDW, an information technology hardware and services firm that uses Westwood One’s NFL and NCAA March Madness play-by-play broadcasts to reach IT decision makers.


Among the findings spotlighted:


  • Westwood One’s NFL audience reaches a very high concentration of IT influencers, twice as high as the NFL TV audience

  • Half of all March Madness AM/FM radio listeners are IT influencers involved in purchase decisions

  • The NFL and NCAA AM/FM radio campaigns built significant awareness, brand favorability, and recommendation intent for CDW among IT decision makers

  • AM/FM radio elevates the media plan: Those who recall the AM/FM radio ads have far greater awareness for CDW advertising on multiple platforms (digital, social, TV, and outdoor)


Separately, a recent study of small business software decision makers conducted by Hanover Research revealed that rock-based AM/FM formats, along with top 40 and news/talk, generate the strongest reach among decision makers. A Nielsen Media Impact analysis of the TV and AM/FM radio campaign of the business software firm revealed that at 3% of the budget, AM/FM radio generated an astonishing 25% increase in incremental reach.


“Audio, and radio in particular, does a really great job of reaching today’s B2B decision makers,” Bouvard says in a video presentation of the results. “Successful campaigns are using more than just spoken word. They are using a broad, broad array of radio programming formats. And across these five very different advertisers… in every single case the campaign effect studies show lifts in awareness, consideration, brand favorability, purchase intent and ad recall.”

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