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Think your TV spots will save you? Think again.

Amazon conducted a test to see whether it was worthwhile to advertise the brand on television. It picked two markets, Portland and Minneapolis, which blended together to approximate the customer base for the entire country. Then it did no national advertising for 16 months while showing ads only in the two target cities. That was an unusual move, since such tests, which aren’t often done by anyone, rarely last for more than three months. “We were unbelievably fixated on it,” Bezos says. While the ads did lift Amazon’s sales somewhat, Bezos figured it wasn’t enough to justify the costs, and instead he decided to put the money into offering lower prices.

When radio stations talk about running a TV campaign there is usually a palpable sense of relief: We’re going in with the big guns. Whew!

Maybe there shouldn’t be.

Unless your format is utterly passive (read: Soft AC) or unless you’re doing a tactical campaign (read: Birthday Game) your station should not require a TV campaign to get its just rewards with the audience. And you certainly shouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief just because you’re doing TV.

Listeners tune in – or not – for their reasons, not yours.

You can talk about what you do on TV until you’re blue in the face. But if there’s no news in your campaign and no compelling “why” then TV is a waste of money. After all, if folks aren’t listening they probably have their reasons. When was the last time a TV spot changed YOUR mind?

Send the money my way instead. I’ll make it go a lot farther.

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