Latest industry views and advice

February 6

If you aspire to use radio for B2B marketing communications, the airwaves are well served by one obvious outlet: the BBC.

Whether it’s the early morning business slot on Radio 4’s Today programme, the even-earlier morning Wake Up to Money on Radio Five Live or the same station’s Sunday night On the Money, these programmes are setting the agenda for the business audience and are top targets for company communicators.

Equally, for North West-based businesses, the proximity of BBC radio programmes being made at Salford’s Media City means opportunities for expert company spokespeople who can commit to being reliable contacts for programme makers.

But what about B2b marketing communications that reaches a business audience tuned into the UK’s breadth of commercial radio?

Radio media buyer for On Air Promotions, Shehnaz Sirkhiel, says:  “The business audience, particularly at C-suite level, is traditionally hard to reach but radio is a good medium because of its many routes to the listener, include advertising, sponsorship and promotions, online, concerts and events.

“And radio has the ability to reach business listeners while they’re in the middle of doing something else, be it travelling, driving or reading.”

Jazz up your b2b marketing communications

Digital radio station, Jazz FM might seem an unlikely location for companies to connect with potential business customers, but it has developed a range of approaches that, while being paid-for pieces of radio activity, retain a distinctly editorial feel that appears to resonate with the listeners.

Josh Edwards at Jazz FM says: “Our audience differs from other commercial radio stations, tending to attract the ABC1, upmarket listener. Also, our listening peaks in the evening with our Dinner Jazz and Late Lounge programmes, which capture a more affluent audience.”

The lure of this audience has attracted the likes of investment firm, Aberdeen Asset Management, as programme sponsors. But the sponsorship approach is more than just a name-check: as well as the more predictable on-air mentions for the company, it involves interviews with key business leaders along with podcasts and online editorial – altogether creating a more interesting and engaging association with the brand than advertising alone.

To derive the most from the sponsorship, Jazz FM has extended it into live events and the production of a jazz CD for client gifts. The jointly-branded CD collection is now also being broadcast to British Airways’ long-haul flight passengers.

Josh adds: “A radio sponsorship and promotion package allows for more inventiveness and creates a real bond between brand and listener.”

Business publication, the FT – an early sponsor of the newly digital Jazz FM in 2009 – uses a magazine format for the station’s Welcome to the Weekend programme on a Friday evening as a way of pushing its Weekend FT edition, using content from the Saturday magazine section to appeal to a business audience already in weekend mode.

Law firm, Mishcon de Reya, uses its targeting of entrepreneurial companies as clients for a business-focused Jazz FM programme, Jazz Shapers, in which the presenter interviews successful business people, interspersed with jazz tracks.


Sirkhiel adds: “Radio acts like a slow, drip-feed over time; appealing to business listeners when they are in a more relaxed mode and yet open to being informed.”

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