There’s a lot of talk in our business about PPM and diary measurements and tactics you should use to provide for ratings success. There’s also a lot of talk about emerging technology and changes in listener choice that may put radio listeners beyond the traditional radio dial. 2010 is the year where these things will become more foreground as technology advances at lightning speed. Your responses to these technological and listener choice developments and your own innovation will lead to radio’s regeneration or decline with the listeners that have made radio a strong media choice for a very sustained period of time.
I had dinner the other night with a futurist. Our conversation was about the variables in their job and how they forecast events, trends and supply chain problem-solving. The conversation was interesting because their job is so different from yours and mine. I am always interested in patterns of behavior, how to adjust behavior and how to predict “predictable” things in the not-too-distant future. If you work inside a radio station today, you should also be interested in behavior modification because the future is changing faster than ever for our industry, and those changes are changing the way people choose entertainment in general.
Do you want to be aware of how ratings systems work and how to give yourself every advantage? Of course, you do. It is critical to understand the nature of how ratings are delivered. However, if you focus so much on ratings delivery that your brand loses its’ passion, your brand will decay and lose value.
As much as some of us would hate to admit it, mathematical equations can be used to predict a good many things – if your data is correct. As we look toward the New Year, this is a good time to reflect and to project possibilities.
In a radio station today, you are faced with emerging technology and empowered consumers, and you must embrace the listener’s passion quickly or you will be left behind.
Listeners are becoming more empowered with choices than ever before. The latest iPods, smart phones and social networks are the developing trends in easy use “choice technology” and merging together ideas that didn’t exist at all just a short time ago. TiVo or DVR technology has allowed consumers to speed through commercials and also allows them to literally sift through programming to preselect and control what they watch and when they choose to watch it on TV. That technology is also changing listener expectation at radio. If you wonder how the future may impact current radio business models negatively, ask non-radio peeps about sites like Pandora. Find out how mobile consumers are using this type of choice pattern technology to replace generic radio that has strayed from being local. Those radio brands that are more generic will become more and more meaningless as technology steadily marches forward and frees radio listeners to choose by location, format, quality, taste and any other definition they choose.
Isn’t it ironic that the things that can save and regenerate traditional radio are personality, unique local programming, passion and supporting the product before it is too late?
In the PPM or diary world, the essential elements of building a great brand have little to do with gaming the system and much more to do with building an undeniable brand filled with key people who care about the community in which they live. It is about finding what listeners are passionate about, engaging them on their passion and reaching beyond your current expectation and theirs. It is also critical to seek to influence and grow your brand by reaching the listeners of your competitors. Direct marketing allows you to select targets based upon how productive they will be for your brand. That saves you money, but it still supports external means of growing the brand to healthier levels. That will be essential for the winning brands in 2010 and worth every penny.
Many broadcasters in 2009 are beginning to take a look at social networking, but they wonder how having a Facebook page is going to help them drive revenue dollars. In 2010 smart programmers, market managers and brand managers must develop specific roles for personalities across social networks and blogs. We must utilize that most valuable part of what we do: People. Marry the passions of your personalities with the image of the station and passions of your listeners to draw people (listeners) to your personalities and brand. We must focus on using our people in unique ways to create and promote social networking benefits for listeners so we can develop additional revenue streams for our future.
Instead of eliminating people, we must innovate and find out how to use unique personalities to invent more revenue. Those are your real key words for 2010 as fresh owners soon ready to access local radio ownership again.
People have more choice and are less likely to buy into lip service. They want the real thing. Our industry must engage, develop and promote what is real in 2010 to lift our brands and our revenue.
Loyd Ford is the ratings and marketing strategist for Americalist Media Marketing. Americalist has been helping radio stations boost ratings with the use of both strategic direct mail and live and recorded telemarketing since 1987. They develop market exclusive strategies (including The Magnet Program™ for PPM, FastCUME Tactic™, viral e-mail and the above mentioned telemarketing and direct mail). Loyd also recommends social networking strategies to increase the value of your brand to listeners and generate more dollars for your station, cluster and company. While Loyd has a long background in day to day programming in medium, small and large markets across the
, his focus at Americalist is providing custom strategies based upon your set of circumstances and market. You can contact Loyd directly @ 877-475-6864 or Americalist1@aol.com, or check out www.boostmyratings.com. You can also join the free “Social Networking for Radio Stations” group on Facebook to learn more about social networking and what stations are doing now to increase their value and boost ratings. U.S.