Radio Helps KinderCare Connect with Mothers

KinderCare Learning Centers, the Portland, Ore.-based provider of early childhood care and education, recently surveyed its customers about their media preferences and, according to Gregg Swanson, senior director of marketing, "We found Radio was a great way to reach our particular audience - working families -- because they were listening while driving to work in the morning and while driving home in the evening. Radio," adds Swanson, "offers the ability to target the primary decision makers -- mothers. For us, that's working women, 25-to- 45, with young children."
In addition, Radio allows Kindercare "to make the message more personal. It's an intimate experience. This is not a commodity product - it's a personal, emotional message." A recent campaign, which aired in 14 markets, including New York, from mid-July through mid-August, utilized real teachers in the commercials for the first time, talking about their success in helping young children to learn. Besides it primary goal of attracting new enrollments, this technique was "a great morale booster for our own staff of 25,000 teachers. We have gotten a great response from our employees."
KinderCare has also discovered that Radio works very well in combination with direct mail. Explains Swanson, "Radio is a good predecessor to direct mail. It softens the market. You make an impression with Radio, and when someone sees something from KinderCare in the mail, they're more likely to open it and read it."
The New York-New Jersey market is "extremely important" to KinderCare. "It's a hot area, and we're building new centers," Swanson says. While it's too early for quantitative results from the advertising effort, "Parents are inquiring, and we have the impression Radio is performing. We think Radio's a great medium for us." The New York area campaign aired on about 14 stations.