No, this isn’t a civics lesson. Instead, I’d like to offer some thoughts on the current state of Radio’s health as it is driven by Arbitron.
In diary markets, stations are still campaigning for votes. Change or create the person’s perception and you’re likely to get their vote in a diary.
However, that’s not the case in metered markets. You have to affect actual usage of your station in order to get a vote.
Notice I continued to call it a “vote.” Anytime someone raises their hand in support of you or anything you stand for or are selling, they are casting their “vote” for you. They are offering their support for your cause. They have gained enough confidence in you or have grown to like you well enough that they feel comfortable standing up for you. When you think about it, that is a powerful act. It leaves them open to the criticism of others who don’t agree. None of us likes criticism. None of us wants to be in the “un-cool” crowd.
That’s why stations in metered markets are finding it hard to move the meter (no pun intended). The memory game is gone. Now it’s not so much about remembering you from your marketing when they’re filling out a diary, they actually have to take action and that means validating their choice. It means telling everyone about that choice. It means opening themselves up to the disdain of others.
Too dramatic you say? Think about the times in your life you’ve changed a habit or adopted something new. Was it easy?
Keep this in mind the next time you’re ready to map out your marketing campaign and you’re thinking about your message and how you’re going to deliver it.
Regardless of whether you’re in a diary or meter market, the reality is the same. To be successful, you have to affect a change, not just a perception. And don’t forget, it takes longer to affect change than perception.