Radio Advertisers - where are the retailers?

After being inundated with news about the shocking declines in sales for retailers of all stripes last week, today a report by Media Monitors shows that only 3 of the top ten national radio advertisers last week were retailers. In fact, except for McDonald's, all the rest were services. Here's the chart:

Most of these advertisers are the most successful in their categories - and those that aren't are aggressively pursuing that success. So - why aren't more major retailers on this list - during the week that can make or break sales for the year? I would have expected Best Buy, Borders, WalMart, Costco, and the hundreds of other retailers who are beating their competition - yet still suffering from the economic conditions - to be part of this list. Not for brand advertising - but for hard hitting, direct response, traffic-building advertising.

Media Monitors data is a terrific sales tool for radio; we can now take a list of advertisers using radio, with the actual count of spots that they used, and match it up against the retail growth of the advertisers. The data can be sliced and diced by market, target demographic, and matched up against real retail sales data for the market. In PPM markets, we can match up with audience data to see an estimate of how many people heard the ads and correlate that to actual sales. And - unlike post-analysis done by agencies for their clients - this information is available to anyone willing to subscribe to it.

This is a game-changer for smart radio sales people if their employers subscribe to the service. Even if they don't, there's enough public information to allow a creative seller to use the new data to solidify an argument for radio. Armed with this data, we can bring more retail advertisers into radio, show them how to achieve the success of advertisers like Geico, and then provide data on the backside that will allow tracking of actual response.