How Chicagoland Consumers React to Radio Ads

How Chicagoland Consumers React to Radio Ads

Chicagoland consumers respond to radio ads, but only when presented in particular ways. They value their local communities, are fiercely loyal, and want to spend their time and money supporting the surrounding businesses. Chicago listeners are serious about their city and their sports, so make sure you don’t represent the wrong team. They also care about the opinions of the local radio personalities who represent their city. 

Marketing to the Chicago market takes an understanding of the community and how they live, work, and play. To effectively reach Chicagoland consumers, there are a few techniques every marketer should keep in mind.

Beware Generic National Ads

One study shows that every $1 spent on radio advertising results in $12 of purchasing activity. However, ads that are not specific to Chicago will receive a lukewarm response. Chicagoland consumers are already inundated with generic national ads with no specific relevance to their city, but even national radio spots can reach local listeners if they are personalized. One of the ways national radio ads can incorporate localization is exemplified by vehicle brands like GM when they used messages like “visit your local Chicago GM dealership,” 

Localizing ad copy for national campaigns is getting more sophisticated. By using copy splitting, national advertisers can customize brand messages for particular regions and markets. An effective example of this is the 2019 campaign where Jeff Goldblum played an inventor of the “apartminternet.” No matter where you heard the spot, he spoke to finding apartments in that city, making it more effective in attracting local audiences.

Endorsement From Chicago Radio Host

One of the most impactful types of ads is a radio host endorsement from a beloved DJ known to Chicago listeners. 73% of faithful listeners feel a deep connection to their local radio hosts, and 66% purchased or considered purchasing a product recommended by their favorite personality. That makes an endorsement from the host similar to a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend or family member. 

Host endorsements are far from new. They were one of the original forms of influencer marketing long before the internet was even imagined. Influencer marketing can give a huge boost to a brand by engaging devoted followers. Radio personalities have an increased influence beyond airtime by engaging with the residents and listeners at community events.

Segmenting Chicago Listeners

Another way to appeal to specific Chicago demographics is by using specific radio stations. Depending upon the station, you can reach a different target audience. Every station has a specific demographic to whom they cater their content. Marketers can leverage the station’s loyal listening audience demographic to reach their intended consumers. 

In Chicago, some of the most popular stations are WTMX, WDRV, and WSHE. They each have specific audiences and formats, providing a rich variety of opportunities for advertisers. A media partner can be very helpful in choosing the ideal station for your target demographic, ensuring you reach your ideal customers. 

  • WTMX –  One of Chicago’s premier pop music stations, WTMX enjoys an audience of 1,292,000, with 787,770 monthly streams, 289,879 social media followers, and 659,000 adult listeners 25-54. Forty-six percent of their listeners earn more than $100,000, 47% have at least one child at home, and 73% have some college education. Marketers have numerous opportunities to reach the station’s demographic through popular shows like Eric in the Morning and Chris & Lisa in afternoon drive, podcasts, community events for various worthy causes, and contests. Examples include the Non-Stop Mix MusGiveaways and Double Your Paycheck contests.
  • WDRV – 97.1 FM, The Drive, is Chicago’s classic rock station, with a multi-generational audience. WDRV’s audience numbers 1,297,000, with 533,396 monthly streams, 49,231 followers, and 619,000 adult listeners 25-54. Approximately 41% of their demographic earns greater than $100,000, 34% have at least one child at home, and 65% have some college education. Advertisers have numerous opportunities to reach their audience through shows like Sherman & Tingle, Steve Seaver’s Classic Rockstar Interviews, Bob Stroud, community events, Thirsty Thursdays, and Janda Lane’s podcast.
  • WSHE – SHE 100.3 is Chicago’s go-to station for the best in variety from the ’80s through today. WSHE boasts an audience of 1,200,000, with 147,634 monthly streams,16,306 social media followers, and 598,000 adult listeners 25-54. Thirty-eight percent of listeners earn over $100,000, 39% have at least one child at home, and 72% have some college education. There are numerous advertising opportunities to reach audiences on the popular Brooke & Jeffrey show, No Repeat Workday sets, podcasts, concerts, and local community causes and events.  

Reach Chicagoland Consumers With the Right Marketing Strategy

Chicagoland consumers react to radio ads depending upon several factors. First, the ad content must be relevant and not simply a generic national ad. Secondly, the narrator must inspire trust, such as a favorite radio host. Finally, the station must appeal to its demographic, or it could fall flat.

A sure way to turn off your audience would be to broadcast a national commercial with an anonymous voice actor, or even worse, a sports figure from a rival team to one of Chicago’s beloved sports teams. 

On the other hand, Chicago listeners are fiercely loyal to their local communities, and they value the opinions of their local radio hosts as if they were close friends. Consider your opportunities for multichannel marketing when choosing your station to optimize your local reach. The right marketing strategy will optimize your impact by reinforcing your radio message across digital channels, leveraging the station’s social following as well as their listening audience.

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