It’s competition of epic proportions. Think David versus Goliath…Gilgamesh versus The Bull of Heaven…Odysseus versus the Cyclops…Think fee-fi-fo-fum. That’s what Ed Lechner thinks about every day when he open up his locally owned Shoe Store, Selby Shoes, Etc., in South Portland, Maine. Across from Ed’s store is Maine’s largest shopping mall and home to 23 shoe stores. Within 3/4 of a mile of Ed’s store there’s a Famous Footwear (owned by footwear juggernaut, Brown Shoe Company); a Super Shoes (owned by zillionaire Warren Buffet); DSW (owned by titan Retail Ventures, Inc.) and the humongous Payless Shoes (owned by Collective Brands, Inc.). So what does Ed Lechner put into his sling to bring down the behemoths that threaten his very existence…local radio.
According to the National Retail Shoe Association, Americans spent $25-billion dollars last year in 29,360 stores. Ed makes sure Selby Shoes, Etc. has captured its fair share of this lucrative industry for the past 23 years by understanding his consumers and how to reach them. According to Ed, his store tries to appeal to, primarily, 40 year old women and their mothers who live within 8 miles of his store. He admits, “It’s hard to be both, but we manage it to it.” He achieves this through careful selection of radio stations. Ed says, “It’s hard in Portland with all of the radio options you have.” He has found success, however, using a combination of WCLZ, an adult-alternative radio station, and WGAN, a new-talk radio station. According to research provided by Media Audit, this combination of radio stations is 36% more likely to comprise Ed’s target audience than the general population.
Consistency Is Critical For Radio Advertising Success
Ed also discovered that consistency is critical to effective radio advertising. He says, “We’re on the radio, month-after-month. I think it’s just getting the name out and letting people know we are here.” This echoes the advice of local real estate agent Cathy Manchester who doubled her company’s business after just one year. She said, “It took a couple of months to get started, but once the calls started coming in, they turned into sales. It’s a rarity when radio calls don’t turn into business immediately.” Kevin Kasserman of Dunbar Water learned the same lesson, “Trying radio for a month, then taking a month off and then going back on the radio will slow momentum in terms of building a relationship with the people listening to your message. Sustained repetition is key.”
Radio Personality Endorsements Contribute To Effectiveness
Another way Ed battles the deeper pocketed chain stores is by utilizing endorsements from radio station personalities. On WCLZ, midday host Randi Kirschbaum extolls the benefits and virtues of shopping at Selby Shoes Etc. Research from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism has found that more than half of listeners have considered or purchased products endorsed by their favorite radio personalities. Listen to Randi’s commercial for Selby Shoes Etc.
Watch the complete interview with Ed Lechner below:
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