Should I Avoid or Join my Competitors with Radio Advertising?

Updated: Mar 13, 2019




The competitive landscape in Calgary brings the question of avoiding or joining your competitors on the radio to the forefront often with radio advertisers, and there is really no right answer- just a dichotomy of philosophies on the matter.


One metaphor I use when discussing this with advertisers is that it's like going fishing. You drive out to a river for an to catch some fish, and you notice when you arrive that there is a big group of fishers in one area of the river, and another spot is virtually empty.

Do you cast a line where the river is has no fishers in the hopes that being the singular hook catches a few fish? Or do you go where there's obviously lots of fish being caught?

In my experience, both can be good strategies if the data on listener demographics and behaviors suggest that the listeners index well (are more likely) to become customers of your business.


Let's explore three scenarios:

  1. Your business is the only one of it's kind on a station. This can be really great if the listeners are primed to become customers according to the polling data. Especially if you own a business in Calgary that people need, but you know they are unsure of what company to engage with, you can carve out a preference for your business by highlighting the differences and strengths you offer for solving their problems or servicing their needs. People will work with businesses they know, like, and trust. They can get to know and trust you the best through radio advertising if you're the only business in your segment on that station.

  2. Your business is one of many on a station. In this case you have good indicators that other companies are having success with this audience, so you can compete with them for this audience's attention. In this case it is important to emphasize that differentiation is all the more vital to have success. There is a sports radio station in Calgary that has multiple Chrysler dealerships on the air, and they all have degrees of success because they have each carved out a different image for themselves, even though their offers are very similar. Think of some of the slogans: "Tell 'em Lanny sent you" "Drive a little, save a lot" "Everyone calls me Curtis C" "are all examples of distinctively branded dealers with very similar offerings. "Lanny" has a trusted celebrity endorsement, "Drive a little save a lot" uses the idea of going slightly out of town to save, and "Curtis C" promises Calgarians that they are regular guys and gals who will level with customers without using jargon, sales tactics, etc. Each has their own value promise and there is enough room for all to succeed on their station.

  3. Your business is joining complimentary businesses on air. This is a fantastic indicator that you are in the right place, but can own the segment. For example, if you're interested in advertising flooring on a radio station in Calgary, you need to pay the same attention to listener demographics and behavioral attributes, but knowing that there is a professional painting service, window company, roofing, kitchen cabinets, bathroom renos, furniture, etc on the station will let you know that those companies are having success, and you fit right in with them.


It's important to know you're in good company, or that you're first to market, or competing on the airwaves to understand how that may impact your strategy. Not sure what the landscape is on the station you're interested in? Or looking to learn more? Get in touch today and we'll explore how or if radio may be a fit to advertise your business to Calgarians.

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