Evaluating the Buzz

From Deborah Parenti, VP/GM of Radio Ink.

Once upon a time, it was easy. Figure the GRP’s, calculate the reach and frequency (I still have an antiquated slide rule and the algebraic formula for that), and work up the CPM or CPP. But today’s new media options require different measuring sticks. It’s about clickthroughs and buzz creation and creating sticky fingers that extend from one platform to another: What’s radio rep to do ?

I called on the experts at Penny Ohlmann Neiman in Dayton, an advertising agency well versed on both sides of the media fence. PON has years of experience representing not only consumer, and business-to-business clients, but media itself, including radio and TV stations across the country. I knew they would offer some spot on observations about what buyers need from you and your multi-platforms.


What methods do you use to measure the effectiveness of different radio platforms ?

Linda Kahn: Historically, we have used things like reach, frequency, demographics, psychographics, geographic, targeting, and other evaluation techniques when researching a buy. Our goal until now has simply been to drive awareness of the brand and offer.

Helen Mumaw: Upon completion of the campaign, we look at the tangible data from a quality-control stand-point to make sure ads ran and aired for the times and days purchased. In some instances, surveys of attitudes and awareness are also performed. However, in most instances it’s the client’s bottom line. Did sales or specific offers show success as a direct result of a campaign ?


What will the benchmarks be for evaluating platforms as they continue to evolve ?

David Bowman: Marketer, media buyers, and advertisers are increasingly relying on date-driven information for decision-making. If your target is talking about you, that’s great, but where are they talking about you ? How much of it is positive ? Negative ? What did they enjoy most ? What got their attention ? They’re out there saying it, and you need to capture it. This information can help improve the initial effectiveness of a campaign and then be  used to make modifications to a promotion based on the response of the market. Information gathered through this process of feedback and re-adjustment becomes a continual source of business intelligence about the evolving professionals to act more quickly and effectively .

HM: As consumers get more sophisticated, discerning, and selective, we’re moving more toward looking at if they’re engaging with the brand. We look at action items like clickthroughs, mentions, and buzz chatter created for the client. For podcasts/webcasts, we look at how many people tuned in to the live program and how many others watched it on demand. Of those, we measure how many took the next steps and ultimately purchased the product or service.

LK: At the end of the day, clients are still most interested in whether we move products and services to their potential customers. Looking at long-term purchasing trends and surveying how engage the average fan is with a brand is going to become more important. Interacting with an engaged fan gives you the ability to connect on one, building that critical relationship that makes a person more important to the brand.


What kind of documentation can best assess the effectiveness of these expanded packages against a specific demo target ?

DB: Ratings are a critical piece of the puzzle when determining media strategy, we’re also interested in getting information about pas Web traffic, social media engagement levels, and sales data for the brands we manage. Some of this information will come from the client, and some may be gathered by the agency as part of an overall social media strategy.

Data is really key here. As you begin to design promotions, this data can offer insights into how to develop a more effective campaign, and determine its overall  impact. Measuring buss today is less about figuring out how many people turned on the radio and more about how many people are talking about what they heard on the radio, saw on the Web, or learned about on Twitter. It’s great that I had 20,000 impressions on your station’s website, but how many people actually clicked through and “liked” our fan page ? How many people commented on the station’s site about one of our ads or promotions ? How many called in and talked about us ?

Beyond traditional data, that’s the kind of information we increasingly want to capture. Ultimately, it is about more than just generating simple awareness, but engaging customers to create relationship that transcend the original campaign.


Penny Ohlmann Neimann

The Ohlmann Group has a rich history that began in Dayton, Ohio in 1949, where the agency was founded as Penny and Penny by Bob Penny and his wife Jean. In 1964, Walter Ohlmann joined the firm. Ralph Neiman came on in 1969 and the firm became Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman. In 2011, P/O/N was renamed The Ohlmann Group to better reflect the agency's ongoing evolution and collaborative nature.

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