Tuesday, September 06, 2005

An Underlying Reason?

I read with interest a PJStar Letter To The Editor from Mr. Robert O'Donnell yesterday, lamenting the fact that several city eateries and businesses had gone under recently. He cited John Bee, Hunt's, VOP's, and Ben Franklin (I presume he was referring to the wonderful store in the Heights) as long-time Peoria businesses suddenly no longer with us.

I'm proud to say that although I've only been here nine years, I had visited all of them, save for John Bee, since I fell in love with a certain blonde, green-eyed native Peorian named Diane. She showed me all of these places. I even had lunch with NASCAR driver Ward Burton at VOP's, and he liked it, too.

Well, sad to say, they all have one thing in common...not one of them has advertised on a local radio station, to the best of my knowledge, in my nine years in town. Top of the Mind Awareness is important, and in a competitive world, more important than the excuse many businesses use when asked why they don't spend advertising dollars: "our best advertising is word of mouth." Umm, sorry, tain't so anymore.

You've got to keep the name out there. Plain and simple. Think about McDonald's. I'll bet everyone reading this can name the location of 10 McDonald's. Minimum. Yet there they are, the biggest in the world, still spending money every month with our AAA radio stations, and no doubt other local outlets as well.

"National chains are different", you say. Hmmm. Let's see. Bremer Jewelry. One store in Peoria, now opening a new one in Bloomington, constantly on our radio stations. Successful.

McDonald's Shell. Sterling Flower Shoppe. Bard Optical. Avanti's. All on the radio. All pretty local. All still open.

There's a bunch of great eateries Diane has introduced me too: Aggatucci's; Childer's; Polanza's. We're regulars now at all of 'em. And for the time being they're all doing well on the surface. But I'm begging the three of them right here: Keep your name out there. Before you become Hunt's.


Anonymous said...

I own a local business and in the past have advertised on local radio, I would do it again, but I will only advertise on a locally owned radio station.

BJ Stone said...

Glad to hear that you WOULD use radio again, those who do find that it does work! Sounds like that was the case for you, too.

Unfortunately, if local ownership is important to you, then you probably don't advertise on TV and in the newspaper in this town, either.

Sadly, locally owned media outlets of any kind are a thing of the past.

But at least in the case of Peoria radio, the decision-making for most of us is done at a local level, and the outside ownership is, for the most part, silent to our day to day programming decisions. There is one company in town that still claims local ownership, but even he splits time between here and the South.

I understand what you're saying, but given the choice, I'd think staying in business is the bottom line instead of going under because there's nobody locally owned to buy advertising with.

Thanks for reading and thanks very much for commenting, do it more!