Direct Response Radio vs. Branding

There are 2 distinctly different styles of marketing and advertising:

Branding (also known as “institutional advertising”) is designed to educate or create a certain emotion. Successful branding results in an “equity position” which instructs the future behavior of a potential customer.

Direct-Response on the other hand is designed to generate a specific and immediate action is does this by using a clearly defined “call to action”.

A Direct-Response offer contains these 4 key elements:

  • A strong offer
  • A call to action (CTA)
  • Sufficient information to interpret the value of the offer
  • A means of response (a web address, capture form, phone number, etc…)

In addition, a degree of testing and analysis is also a required and important component of direct response campaigns.

The chart below compares some of the most important characteristics of each form of marketing.

Direct Response vs Branding advertising comparison chart

Direct Response Radio

Many forms of advertising along with many marketing tactics and strategies are available in “direct response flavor”. At Rainstorm Media Group, we pride ourselves in our direct response radio capabilities.

Radio has a number of benefits that naturally lend themselves to direct response.


The radio industry at large is fast paced. Almost everything is instant! This benefits direct response campaigns tremendously because you can launch new ads right away – usually within 24 hours. The same hold true in reverse too – if one radio station isn’t pulling leads or your message isn’t working – it can pulled off-air very quickly. No other single ad medium has these advantages over radio. With television or print for instance – ads can continue to run for a few days or as long as 2 weeks after you place the order to stop.

Low Production Costs

Producing direct response radio commercials is extremely cost effective when compared to typical outdoor or television production costs and still remains competitive when compared to even print or direct mail. Because of this low production cost, direct response marketers can change ad messages and be free to test multiple versions with fairly low risk.

Ad Testing

The speed and efficiency of radio advertising coupled with it’s low production costs make it an ideal ad medium with which to test new products, campaigns, messages, targets or markets.

“There aren’t any hard and fast numbers – as every campaign is different – but, we can regularly get TWICE as much test data for HALF as much money when testing with radio vs other media.” ~Jessica Jones, Founding Partner/Executive Director

Direct Response vs. Branding

Conrad Flynn, Chief Digital Marketing Strategist delivered a recent college lecture on the merits of both direct response and branding. Here’s an excerpt from the lesson: