Over the next 12 months, 26,667 people living in southern Maine plan to get married, according to research from Nielsen. These weddings will generate close to $500,000,000 in sales for Maine small business owners.
Jon Goodman, front-man for local wedding band Time Pilots, has dramatically increased his share of that gigantic pool of bridal cash. Since he began advertising the band on Portland radio 5 years ago, Mr. Goodman says, “it would be fair to say that our wedding business has tripled”.
Time Pilots started in 1999 when Mr. Goodman rounded up a group of musical friends for weekly jam sessions. “After a while,” says Mr. Goodman, “we said this sounds really good. So we decided to become an 80s tribute band.”
“The band quickly took off, “says Mr. Goodman. “We became really busy, really fast. We were playing 50 to 60 shows per year. These were mostly bars or an occasional private party in someone’s backyard.”
Mr. Goodman knew, however, that there was a more lucrative direction for Time Pilots. “I always had this idea in the back of my head,” he says, “that once we developed a following, we would morph away from low paying club dates and become more of a general business which meant becoming a wedding band.”
“Becoming a wedding band,” continued Mr. Goodman, “involved playing all types of music not just 80s music. So we started adding more and more popular music to our mix. Now, the 80s is only a small part of what we play.”
Radio Advertising Helps Claim A Larger Share of Business
“Once we started playing weddings, we were depending on referrals and wedding planners to get more business”, says Mr. Goodman. But the competition was fierce. “Not only did we have to compete for dates with eight or nine other local bands, we had to compete with wedding bands out of Boston.” As Mr. Goodman explains, “Many brides and planners had the mistaken perception that Boston is where the best wedding bands come from.”
So in an effort to claim a large share of the Maine bridal market from their competitors, Time Pilots began advertising on Portland radio. “As soon as we started doing it, ” says Mr. Goodman, “it was like BAM! people started telling me they heard our ad. Then, within a couple of days we got our first call from someone who said she was planning her wedding in the fall and she had heard the Time Pilots ad on the radio..”
Wedding Business Triples for Time Pilots
“During our first year as a wedding band,” says Mr. Goodman, “Time Pilots did one wedding. A few years later we were doing two to three weddings a year. Since we started doing our radio ads we have been doing 15 to 20 weddings a year. It would be fair to say that radio advertising has helped us triple our business.”
Time Pilots is not the only Maine small business owner that has found success advertising on Portland radio. So has Scott Libby, owner of Royal River Heat Pumps in Falmouth.
Cathy Manchester, a real estate agent based in Gray, Maine, has had similar results utilizing Portland radio as part of her company’s marketing mix.
“When we began advertising on the radio several years ago,” says Ms. Manchester, “our business doubled! We went from selling 100 homes a year to approximately 200 homes each year! Radio advertising continues to provide a steady stream of well qualified customers for us!”
Stacy Dodge, an owner of the Bill Dodge Auto Group with Maine locations in Westbrook, Saco, and Brunswick also lets reality not perception guide her company’s media and marketing decisions. “We have been using Portland radio as a primary marketing source for about 10 years now.” said Ms. Dodge. “We have seen very measurable results and are able to target our audiences more effectively.”
“We are also more effectively able to market specific brands to a specific audience which is sometimes harder, and more expensive, to do with other mediums, said Ms. Dodge. “Radio is a very cost effective way to get your message out to the people you want to hear it.”
The successes Mr. Goodman, Mr. Libby, Ms. Manchester, and Ms. Dodge have had using radio were echoes by marketing expert Doug Schoen in Forbes Magazine. “It’s quite clear that we should all be paying more attention to radio, its reach and potential to help our businesses. It’s doing the job with expert efficiency.
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