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Optimizing the Power of Radio

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Peter Smyth, CEO, IRS+

With 82% of the adult population listening to radio on a daily basis, the Dublin-based media sales house IRS+ has its sights set on developing the market by helping advertisers think differently about the market, according to CEO Peter Smyth who speaks to IMJ.

“Radio celebrated its 100th anniversary last year so the challenge I set for the business was how could we make a real impact to the future of radio in Ireland and increase levels of engagement with the medium by brands and planners? We had an idea that we thought night work.  What we did next was create a new brand – The Radio Factory – to explore and develop that idea.”

That’s according to Peter Smyth, CEO of IRS+, the media sales house that specializes in the targeting of local, grass roots audiences through its long association with 15 of Ireland’s most popular independent radio stations including Clare FM, East Coast FM, Highland Radio, KFM, KCLR, Radio Kerry, Midlands 103, MWR, Northern Sound, Ocean FM, Radio Nova, Shannonside FM, South East Radio, Sunshine 106.8 and Tipp FM.

The Radio Factory was created as an original brand platform to revolutionize how planners engage with radio. With an ethos of increasing the value of radio while refreshing planning methods and, most importantly, making radio work, the objective behind the new brand is to provide updates, insights and multiple radio resources for media agencies that can add real return on investments for clients.

Transformative

Recognising a gap in the market, Smyth then teamed up for a joint initiative with Mediastar (the media analysis tool that everyone in the business uses) – to develop what is an Ireland first. Namely, a robust new technology desktop App called The Radio Factory Optimiser, a new product that’s already transforming how media agencies plan radio campaigns.

Previously, planning a radio campaign was seen as time consuming and labour intensive, delivering repetitive radio solutions. However, that’s all changed with the arrival of The Radio Factory Optimizer which is designed to assist planners in creating radio plans that represent the best value for money for the most effective reach.

By inputting data about their target audiences and key demographic information along with a specific weekly budget, planners can generate a robust radio plan which offers the most efficient mix of radio solutions. The result is a plethora of options that open the potential for radio.

It has already been adopted and endorsed by some of Ireland’s biggest and most influential media organisations including Core Media, IPG Mediabrands and Virgin Media – Available at no cost.

Since being appointed to the business as CEO three years ago with a brief to increase revenue and add innovation to the way the company does business, IRS+ has expanded considerably under Smyth’s management – with a buoyant 2017 already in prospect.

Major client brands include Supervalu, Electric Ireland, Centra, An Post, National Lottery, RSA, Dunnes Stores, Sky, VW, LIDL, ALDI, Calor, Boots and Specsavers.

Smyth points out that Ireland is a nation of radio lovers with 82% tuning in daily. IRS+ represents a 19% share of this radio listenership.

“IRS+ listeners have a loyal and connected relationship with their local radio station. It is a very trusted source of media with almost 50% of its daily listenership only listens to their roster of stations – a notable achievement when other stations often experience more fragmented, less engaged listenership,” he says.

With an expanding team of professionals working in finance, marketing and sales and based at their HQ office on Herbert Street, Dublin 2, IRS+ offers promotion, sales and representation to agencies, creative media specialists and direct clients for media owners. For advertisers and their agencies, Smyth says it offers a range of off the shelf and bespoke packages targeting specific demographics at local and national level.

What’s Next?

According to Smyth further growth and expansion is on the horizon. “In addition, The Radio Factory Optimiser App is a product that will continually evolve to meet the needs of planners so we’re intending to release a new update of the app in the second quarter 2017. This will include that will have additional enhancements and facilities, making radio an even more compelling media choice.

Radio & Digital

Smyth says that IRS+ has also turned its attention to how well radio meshes with digital to provide new commercial and engagement opportunities for clients. Account Director Karen Doyle is leading a new initiative under The Radio Factory Banner

“With a scarcity of research on how a traditional and robust media such as radio can drive sales in a digital world, we have developed a new, on-going research series focusing on popular consumer retail categories where we can show real data, illustrating how radio works to drive digital sales.

Initially, we have devised two campaigns, building on the traditional blocks of radio advertising but always channelling the consumer to the website. The results of the first Radio Factory Research will be published in May,” says Karen Doyle.

First published in Irish Marketing Journal (IMJ May 2017)© to order back issues please call 016611660