What is the very best form of advertising? I was asked a similar question recently.

I belong to a business networking group that limits membership to just one person from each business category and I sort of occupy two categories.  Radio Advertising with WOWO Radio & Digital Marketing with Federated Digital Services.

If I had to choose just one, not both of those categories, which one did I want to hold onto, is what I was asked to consider.  I was even told that I don’t need to decide now, but in the future that might be a choice I have to make.

I knew the answer without hesitation and this may surprise you.

But before I share with you, what I told them, I’ve got a little story that demonstrates the why behind my answer.

The purpose behind your advertising and marketing is to build profitable relationships.

I have a retail store that has consistently used my radio station, WOWO for three years.  Before I met them, they would never commit to any advertising to more than 2 months.  This business is over 40 years old, but moved to a new location a few years ago.  So why do they advertise with WOWO every month?  Because our listeners tell them that they were told by Pat or Charly to visit their store.

Here’s another story:

I work with a Doctor who took over two practices last year.  We started by using a Custom Audience Targeted Digital Display advertising campaign and he saw his practice grow.  I could show him the number of visits to his website that were produced by his digital advertising campaigns.  Then we decided to expand and add a few ads on WOWO radio.  I visited him 10 days after his radio ads began and his first words to me is that he has people telling him that they heard about him on the radio.

I could tell you a few more stories but I think you are starting to catch on.

If I had to pick between selling only radio advertising campaigns on WOWO or selling only digital advertising campaigns online… I pick WOWO Radio for the Win.

This is not to downplay the power of the digital marketing campaigns that I’ve run for some of my advertising partners.  Earlier this year, one of my advertising partners was able to track 482 leads in just a couple of months that were generated from the Custom Audience Targeted Digital Display advertising campaign we created.  This was more than they could handle and leads were not being handled properly.  That company wasn’t prepared to take care of the business we were sending their way. Digital can work when properly executed from beginning to end.

But let me remind you:

The purpose behind your advertising and marketing is to build profitable relationships.

And for some businesses, getting clicks and leads online is exactly what they want. However, most local businesses that I work with want reassurances that their advertising investments are good investments and when you get people telling you they heard your name on the radio, that is reassuring.

Face it, most of us are not going to tell a business person that we are in their store because we saw their digital ad.  Digital ads aren’t personal in that way. At least yet.  One day, I’ll probably get served a digital ad that says something like, “Scott, are you ready to buy this phone? Click here.”  That will be kind of creepy.

The reason for the success of many advertisers on WOWO is the human relationships that are developed.  Our loyal listeners feel a fondness for our talk show hosts who are on the air every day.  They connect because they are what we call actively listening which is different than passive listening like you often do with a music radio station that is simply playing in the background.

That fondness matures into a trust factor between the WOWO listener and the radio station and the station personalities.  On a scale of 1 to 10, our WOWO radio personalities score 7’s, 8’s sometimes 9’s or 10’s with listeners on the friendship and trust factor.  That’s higher than some of the people you have as Facebook friends, right?

Every other form of paid advertising simply doesn’t rank as high in creating trust.  Television could come close if the local personalities could create an authentic advertising message, but that is rare. Newspapers don’t connect and bond, neither do most magazines.  Billboards are just signs but rarely do they make a human connection that includes an emotional bond that happens with our WOWO radio hosts.

The answer to the question of what is the very best form of advertising, for all the reasons I just mentioned, I firmly believe in most cases it’s a message on WOWO Radio for local businesses in the Fort Wayne area.

Digital advertising is growing, it’s the bright and shiny object that more and more businesses are pouring money into but as you see, there are plenty of challenges.

And there’s more to your advertising success than just running ads on WOWO.

Here’s what I told my friends last week.  In my left hand I held my smartphone which represents digital advertising.  In my right hand I held a piece of paper with the WOWO  logo, to represent the radio advertising options I offer.

If I had to choose, please cut off my left hand (digital) and leave my right hand (radio).  I’m right handed and to be forced to write with just my left hand could get messy.

Fortunately, I can offer both hands.

But more important than what I have in my hands, the radio and digital advertising options, is what’s in my head and heart.

That’s where I have the knowledge, wisdom and hands on experience of the last couple of decades to help craft a marketing plan designed specifically for your success.  And that’s the heart of it all.

Want help?  Ask me.