Last month a dentist told me that he wanted to advertise on a certain station – let’s call it WBIG. My clients often have good instincts about their own markets, so I asked him to tell me why he thought WBIG was a good choice. He responded, “My wife and the ladies in my front office listen to it all the time.” “Hmm,” I thought to myself.

Here at RAMP, we hear comments like this all the time. We’re also used to hearing, ‘I don’t listen to that station” and another common refrain, “Nobody I know listens to that station”. When I hear comments like these, it makes me go, “Hmm.”

My clients don’t advertise to hear themselves on the radio. They want phone calls from patients who have the need for a lot of dentistry, and the means to pay for it. That’s it. Our marketing mission is very simple.

That’s why it doesn’t matter if we like the station or even if we’ve heard of the station. Media buying is executed based upon a number of factors that include a host of quantitative and qualitative demographic statistics. Our personal opinions about the station’s programming are irrelevant. And since independent agencies like RAMP aren’t aligned with any station or station groups, we have no incentive to pick one station over another. We just pick the station that will give our client the best ROI. Period.

If I was in the business of selling ice cream, but at the same time hated the taste of chocolate, I would still sell chocolate ice cream to my customers. That’s because it doesn’t matter what I like. What matters is what my customers like.

So we looked at radio station WBIG. And it was a nice station. The radio rep was predictably friendly and enthusiastic with the idea of getting some of the good doctor’s business. Some of their listeners are our target customers, and I’m sure that some of them would have responded to our ads. It would have worked. But the average practice can’t afford to be everywhere, and has to ask more than just, “will it work?’’ The real question is, “What will work best?” Hmm.

In this case, the best use of our money was not to add WBIG to our radio campaign, but to buy more commercials from our current station. It’s been a month since we beefed up the schedule, and we already see a healthy return on our newly budgeted dollars. My client’s wife doesn’t get to hear him on her favorite station, but she was pretty busy anyway with the 28 new patients the radio brought in this month. Only one person is unhappy. That’s the radio rep over at WBIG. Hmm.