A recent Radio Marketing Masterclass highlighted how innovation is changing the way advertisers can and should use radio

Celebrating 100 years of radio in SA, the recent Radio Marketing Masterclass offered marketers a realistic overview of the historical and current landscapes of radio listenership, locally and globally.

Hosted by MC Siya Sangweni on February 29, this hybrid workshop — watch the recording below — was sponsored by Arena Events, in partnership with Financial Mail Redzone, the Telkom Radio Awards, Radio Always, NAB and the SABC.

Telkom CMO Gugu Mthembu, delivering the welcome address, paid homage to radio as “a timeless medium”, which has remained impactful and pervasive in its reach. Like Telkom, radio has been connecting communities for a century, offering marketers “accurate segmentation in data which is important in a country as diverse as ours”, said Mthembu.

Segmentation data remains imperative for marketers in creating tailor-made messaging that resonates with audiences across the demographic spectrum. Concluding her address, Mthembu assured audiences of the formidability and adaptability of radio in surviving technology advances that have threatened its existence, such as video and podcasts.

“Globally, radio is bigger than music streaming and podcasts put together,” said Jacaranda FM MD Deirdre King, while reflecting on some of the technologies that were predicted as threats to the survival of radio.

Speaking specifically on trends in radio listenership in SA, King reports a device shift, “with mobile devices playing a much bigger role than anywhere else in the world”.

“Despite living in the digital age, radio reaches more than 90% of the population weekly,” King said. She highlighted the uniqueness of the medium in the booming audio landscape, with radio being “the only format that offers scale for marketers to reach consumers”.

Despite living in the digital age, radio reaches more than 90% of the population weekly
Jacaranda FM MD Deirdre King

King positioned load-shedding as an advantage for radio marketers, with trends revealing increased radio consumption. “If we look at the past seven days alone, consumption for radio in SA has remained relatively stable at 73% listenership for an average of three hours a day”.

“The question often remains, is radio ageing? NO!” King said firmly as she emphasised the ever-evolving nature of radio to adapt and meet the needs of the consumer.

King’s research further shows the compatibility of radio for younger and older audiences. “What we have noticed is that audio strategies need to evolve for the younger listener as they have changed the way they consume radio and audio and tend to have different needs.”

With the introduction of podcast, King said “audio is more relevant now than ever”, but she is concerned about the recognition of this truth among marketers and within marketing behaviour. “The data suggests that advertising agencies and marketers have a disconnected perception of listening behaviour and media investment in radio is disproportionate to the amount of media time consumers spend with the medium in SA”.

The profound relevance of radio is slowly coming to realisation. King characterises the medium as the “Swiss army knife that every advertiser should use in their plans”. The pervasive, omnipresent nature of the audio medium is cited as a central tenet as to why marketers should invest in it.

After King’s address was the first panel discussion, titled “Make radio work for your brand”. The impressive list of experts included:

  • Lundi Khoisan Cavernelis, programme officer at Tuks FM 107.2;
  • Charonike Nel, music scheduler and breakfast presenter at Groot FM;
  • Sibusiso Gumbi, head of marketing at the SABC; and
  • Sbongi Ngcobo, business manager at Ukhozi FM.

Speaking specifically on how radio can be integrated into a brand’s marketing strategy, Ngcobo reflected on the compatibility of radio with other mediums such as print and TV.

Gumbi agreed with Ngcobo, saying radio is a medium that often directs audiences to other mediums — while remaining certain of the audiences’ return.

The second panel discussion of the day focused on navigating the future of radio marketing. Along with Mthembu, panellists included:

  • Simmi Areff, head of podcasts at Arena Holdings;
  • Johan van Rooyen, GM of radio strategy at the SABC;
  • Nkosinathi Ntuli, business manager at SABC Mpumalanga Combo ; and
  • Dashni Vilakazi, MD of The MediaShop.

Ntuli and Vilakazi echoed the multi-medium reach of radio. Ntuli said that for radio to truly work for one’s brand, one should consider it as a “multichannel approach of engaging audiences by going where audiences are and servicing their needs, essentially providing a conducive space for marketers to interact with their audiences”.

The final considerations of these discussions implore marketers to engage audiences using multidimensional approaches with social media, TV, radio and podcast components to cater to all audiences’ consumption needs.

Watch the masterclass here:

Image source: Pexels