Author Archives: Norton Warner

Advertiser Belief = Budget

Radio’s biggest challenge is to overcome advertiser’s failure to comprehend it. In survey after survey, radio is named as the medium most profoundly misunderstood by advertising clients.

The late Maurie Webster* had this to say in a 1977 interview with Inside Radio.

“Advertisers do not understand how to use radio. That, I think, is radio’s fault. The survey done by the National Federation of Advertising Agencies looked at the agencies and asked them the question ‘Which medium do you believe your clients understand the best?’ Over all else, the newspapers came out the best at 56%. Second place was TV at 20%. Third was magazines at 12%. Fourth place with only 3% of the votes was radio. Now, I take that as kind of an indictment about what we have done by selling radio too often for promotions, for stunts, for events, for special purposes. As a result, a lot of advertisers may look at radio as a medium for stunts and promotions-and that’s it.”

This interview was more than 35 years ago but from conversations with broadcasters today, we learn that it seems very little has changed.

To most advertisers, radio is a mysterious, unknowable and immeasurable medium, making it an uncomfortable business investment. No wonder radio must struggle to become the medium of choice.

Making it “comfortable” for your clients to say “Let’s get started!”

Take the mystery out of radio for your current and potential long-term clients with the Marketing Bridge Club (MBC) mini-seminars.  Each of these four mini-seminars can be conducted in less than an hour. They are a gift to your business community that will keep on giving.

The benefits are many:

  •  Your advertisers will gain a clear understanding of marketing, advertising and the effective use of radio to reach their personal and business goals.
  • Your sales reps can focus on the execution of the advertiser’s radio campaign rather than fighting cancellation. Your competition will be left in the dust.
  • Your station can accomplish in four short mini-seminars what most sales reps are never given a chance to do…the education of a client about the power and effective use of radio advertising.
  • Your advertisers won’t feel compelled to test radio. They will accept the responsibility and accountability for their own success. They know their success is an inside job.
  • You and your advertiser will speak the same marketing and advertising language. It’s a language your competition won’t understand.
  • …and many more.

“For the first time I really feel I understand marketing and advertising.”

The late John Sperry, owner of Sperry TV in Lincoln, Nebraska, built an electronics repair business, garnering 70 to 80% of the market primarily through radio advertising. Similar repair shops in other communities consider 10% market share as their goal. Electronic repair shops from all over America came to Lincoln to learn from Sperry TV. After viewing sixteen video programs from The Warner Concept series, John said,“I have attended half-day, all-day, three-day, and week-long seminars on marketing and advertising all over the country. For the first time I really feel I understand marketing and advertising.”

 Your advertisers will see The Sperry Story in the Third MBC mini-seminar.

Simple Implementation

The presentation of the four MBC mini-seminars is easy. The video programs are available online or via DVD. The Invitation packet will provide a four-page folder customized with your station group and call letters, stationery and envelopes along with suggested written print materials for a personal sales call on invitees. All you have to do is arrange for a private room in a local restaurant with a good TV monitor and sound system to show the videos. Then, push the right buttons.

It’s Magic!

The first and very important sale is creating the sales rep’s belief in the power of radio advertising. This sale is the easiest to make because sales reps want to believe in what they are selling. This is accomplished in the RAP Webucation course.

The most profitable sale is creating the advertiser’s belief in the power of radio, when used properly, because … belief equals budget. This sale is accomplished through the eighteen videos presented in four Marketing Bridge Club mini-seminars.

When you connect advertisers who have attended all four of the Marketing Bridge Club mini-seminars with credibility from a Radio Advertising Professional sales rep…there is magicand increased budgets for your stations

*Maurie Webster was VP & GM of CBS Spots Sales. He left CBS to form his own sales consultancy in New York. Maurie conducted sales seminars for the National Radio Broadcasters Association on selling against newspaper. He was highly respected for sales development in the radio broadcast industry.
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Norton E. Warner

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I’m sure you are familiar with the Pareto principle also known as the 80–20 rule or the law of the vital few, that states 80 percent of your revenue comes from 20 percent of your customers. The Warner Concepts training for Radio Advertising Professionals is designed to “superserve” the 20% of your local core customers who may provide 80% of your local sales income. It’s important that you identify all those accounts in this 20%. Once these accounts are identified you can focus on convincing each and every one of them on the power of radio to achieve their goals.

The goal of the Radio Advertising Professional webucation is to attract and keep all or a major share of every locally controlled budget in your market. These budgets make up the base budgets that are on the air on the first of every month.

The end result of the RAP training is to enable your sales team to convince every local advertiser that radio can do 100% of the advertising job to be done. Remember – belief equals budget. Your client’s belief in the power of radio to achieve his or her business goals equals your client’s budget or investment in your radio stations.

The first sale to be made is “selling” your radio sales reps on the power of radio advertising. The RAP online webucation will do this for you.

The second and most critical sale to be made is convincing advertisers of the power of radio to achieve 100% of their business and advertising goals.

The Radio Advertising Professional with credibility (the quality or power of inspiring belief) may be able to make this critical sale. For those who haven’t achieved personal credibility you may introduce the Marketing Bridge Club mini-seminars to your community of advertisers. In four mini-seminars, each less than an hour, you can create an advertiser’s understanding and belief in the power of radio. The time spent educating and advertiser will be saved a hundredfold in servicing the account and on “keeping the client sold.”

The RAP webucation that leads to larger budgets from local accounts is not meant to replace any income from community events, station promotions, sports, online broadcasting, internet services or other seasonal or “good idea” events. These are not only major income producers they are important support for building a community and attracting listenership. In fact, the 20% of core long-term, base budget advertisers will also want and should be encouraged to participate in your community and station promotions.

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What About The Other 80%?

The Pareto principle, also known as the 80–20 rule or the law of the vital few, states that 80 percent of your revenue comes from 20 percent of your customers. You need to focus on selling that 20%. But you can’t ignore The Other 80% and the law of the vital many. Why? Because the Other 80% may mean the difference between a profit and a loss in some months. The Other 80% may mean the difference between 10% to bottom line and more than 40% to bottom line. Only radio can effectively serve The Other 80%

The Beginning of a Mission

Kansas Mattress Company

Norton holding a cream pitcher promotion item from the Kansas Mattress Co.

My dad owned the Kansas Mattress Company in Wichita, Kansas. He was a hard-working entrepreneur from the late twenties to the early sixties. Even though he manufactured the best mattresses in Wichita, customers didn’t beat a path to his door. He relied on referrals and word-of-mouth. It didn’t work then and certainly doesn’t work today. My dad didn’t know how to use media advertising to tell his story. A typical newspaper proposal might be to add his name at the bottom of the “Go to Church This Sunday” page. Radio station sales reps had no idea what to recommend. His advertising budget was spent on cream pitchers, yardsticks and other giveaway specialties. Without effective marketing and advertising…you’re out of business. My dad’s frustration with getting his story out has fueled my mission to help grow America’s small business with radio advertising.

Only radio can effectively tell the story of The Other 80%

Artistic Cleaners modest storefront

Artistic Cleaners – Only in America.

Bill Naill operated Artistic Cleaners out of a 12.5-foot storefront in south Wichita, Kansas, a community of over 400,000. He outsourced the actual dry cleaning. Bill and one employee did the pressing, packaging and presentation of the clothing. When customers discovered Artistic Cleaners, they wouldn’t go anywhere else. I persuaded Bill that my station’s audience was a perfect match for his dry-cleaning business. We scheduled two ads a day five days a week. After several months Bill said, “I’ve had customers tell me they hear my ads five or six times a day – three or four times the number of ads he had scheduled. This led to the discovery of radio’s powerful “magic snowball” effect. It also led to five more locations of highly profitable Artistic Cleaners and Artistic Wedding Gown and Tux Rentals. It all started with the twelve and a half foot front building and the creative use of radio advertising.

Fox Den Barbers – Only in America.

Fox Den Barbers

A two-person barbershop in Lincoln, Nebraska, a community of 250,000, also demonstrates radio’s magic snowball effect. When Tom and Rena Fox opened Fox Den Barbers we scheduled four ads a week on our AM station and two ads a week on our FM station. Tom voiced the ads, which we rotated on a PFP schedule. After a year or two, some of the shop’s regular customers began to “notice” how often they thought they were hearing Tom’s ads. They asked Tom how such a small business could afford so much radio advertising. The customers’ estimates of the schedule ranged from five to eight ads a day. The magic snowball effect is only possible on radio. It was working for Fox Den’s very limited budget. Tom and Rena kept their two person shop full of customers until they retired.

Judson Irrigation – Only in America

Judson Byleen

Judson Byleen, owner of Judson Irrigation in Lincoln, Nebraska has been installing and servicing sprinkler systems in Lincoln since 1971. After 20 years in business he was doing a little over $100,000 a year in total sales and service. Judson had developed a small but very loyal base of customers. He had done no advertising. He counted on referrals and word-of-mouth for growth. It wasn’t working. When Judson and I got together in 1991 he said, “I either need to grow my business or find another job.”  We introduced Judson to our new marketing and advertising concepts and a system that would consistently and effectively get his story out on his very limited budget. A little over 10 years later, Judson Irrigation was in the top 200 of more than 40,000 irrigation contractors in America in total sales and service. The magic snowball effect is possible only on radio. The success story is possible only in America.

We will show you how radio, and only radio, can make even the smallest ad budget sound six to eight times greater just as it did for Artistic Cleaners, Fox Den Barbers and Judson Irrigation.

In many markets the very small accounts with very limited budgets become the “practice” or “training” accounts. These are no longer throw-away advertisers. The Other 80% needs and should receive the most professional guidance your stations can give them.

The Marketing Bridge Club to educate the advertiser on the effective use of radio and the Radio Advertising Professional webucation for sales reps work together to provide the selling power that radio has always deserved. Your local media competition will be left in the dust.

Nine Criteria for Identifying Your Most Likely and Best Advertisers for Increased Revenue

Norton E. Warner

The best initial prospects are those who are recognized as business leaders in your community. They are perceived as someone the business community respects and who influences others’ decisions. They don’t have to be the biggest local retailers. They can be those whom the business community respects as good business leaders. Many local advertisers will ask the question, “Who else is doing it?” If you get the leaders first you’ll get the followers.

You currently have a credible relationship with the decision maker. The initial participants should have either a positive attitude toward growth and a good relationship with your stations. You don’t need to try and reform hostile advertisers at this time.

They are willing to change old habits and attitudes to meet today’s new marketing and advertising methods.

They are growing or at least maintaining their market share. They are motivated to grow even more. They need to grow; are often frustrated with advertising and are looking for ways to increase their sales with more effective marketing and advertising.

They are working at their business. They have goals and the business acumen to achieve them if they improve their marketing and advertising.

They have complete control of their advertising budget. They don’t have to get permission from 500 miles away. They should be able to make a decision to invest all or a major portion of their budget with one or two of your stations.

They can pay for a sustained advertising campaign without having to increase their income. This relieves the pressure for new or immediate income that may be anticipated by the advertiser. Many businesses are spreading their ad budgets all over the community. They can usually find the increased radio budget by cancelling most or all of their currently questionable media or non-media expenditures. 

The decision maker (or a frontline associate or manager) should be willing to use his/her voice on the radio ads. The advertiser may use his/her voice on the entire ad, on ten seconds or a single sentence of the ad. This is essential for producing traceability or feedback that allows time for radio to produce results.

The decision maker (or internal support team) should be internet savvy. Much of the marketing and advertising information necessary to keep the advertiser sold on radio will be delivered through email or other Internet programs.

The Shepherd Magic

Norton E. Warner

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The Concept and Radio Advertising Professional training began with the late Jerrell Shepherd in Moberly, Missouri in 1968. In 1967 KWIX and KRES FM were acclaimed “The most successful small market stations in America.”  These two stations grossed $325,000 in a community of 13,000. Mr. Shepherd, as he was called affectionately by his staff,  labeled our system, The Concept. He identified all local businesses that might make up the 20% that could provide 80%* of his stations’ sales income. These accounts were called “Concept Advertisers.” When we introduced the Warner Concept system KWIX and KRES were grossing $400,000. In less than three years these two stations reached 1.4 million. In 2005 Dave Shepherd, Jerrell’s son, took three stations in Moberly, KWIX, KRES FM and KIRK FM to $2.6 million. Click on The Rest of the Story from a 1988 interview with Jerrell. His vision and belief in the power of radio has fueled the missions of the Warner Concept System, Marketing Firepower and the Radio Advertising Professional online webucation.


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Big Results on a Small Budget

You can advertise with effective reach and frequency, even if yours is a small enterprise with a very limited budget.

Small-business proprietors often view advertising with frustration and a sense of futility. “I have so little money for advertising it wouldn’t do me any good” is a common lament. These businesses forgo advertising and rely on word-of-mouth to tell their stories. Growing your business through word-of-mouth can be the last gasp of a company that has dribbled away its limited budget on an unproductive media campaign.

Keys to Small-Budget Radio Advertising

If you operate a small business that meets a need or fills a market niche, and your business is growing slowly without advertising, I can promise that radio advertising would be effective for you. The instructions are simple:

1. Concentrate your budget on radio.
Don’t be seduced into using other advertising media or promotional gimmicks that could fragment your limited budget.

2. Advertise on the one or two radio stations that talk to your most likely and profitable customer. 

3. Commit to a long-term budget you can sustain.
You should be comfortable paying the bill every month without counting on your advertising to immediately increase your revenue.

4. Prepare a strong and effective Value Story campaign that sets you apart from your competition. 

5. Use a PFP (Planned Fixed Position) schedule designed to assure effective reach and frequency. Over time you will achieve the magic snowball effect that multiplies your schedule exponentially.

6. Allow time to effectively reach a station’s total audience with sufficient frequency to be remembered at buying time.  Think in terms of months and years—not days. The smaller the budget the more time required to communicate your Value Story. The larger the budget the less time required.

7. Increase you budge as your enterprise grows. Asses your growth percentages annually. Use a percentage that fits your comfort zone.

In summary, you must let the element of time work its magic; carefully select the radio station that targets your most profitable customers; stay within a reasonable budget; prepare dynamic messages; and schedule the ads so that they reach the station’s total audience. These instructions apply to larger budgets, too, with the difference being the time or patience required. As the amount of money spent intelligently on advertising rises, the time needed to achieve reach and frequency with a station’s audience decreases.

The Magic of Budget Expansion

In time, radio’s powerful “magic snowball” will magnify listeners’ perceptions of your ads and your advertising budget will seem six to eight times greater than it is. Take, for example, the story of Bill and Shirley Naill and Artistic Cleaners in Wichita, Kansas. Their success at their small 12.5-footstorefront building enabled them to establish several branch locations in the Wichita area, as well as a highly-profitable tux and bridal gown rental business.

When Bill and Shirley visited me a few years ago, Bill shook my hand and said, “Here’s the man who made me rich.” But he was wrong. What enabled his enterprise to prosper was the entrepreneurial spirit and teamwork of Bill and Shirley, a great marketing bridge, and hard work. I merely executed the radio campaign that told his story through the exclusive and effective use of one radio station.

Bill and Shirley’s story should be encouraging to all small businesses. It demonstrates how the power of radio amplifies the smallest of budgets, making it the only advertising medium whose benefits are available to every enterprise in America, regardless of size.


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