(By Gary Begin) We’re in the radio industry and we sell rating points. Buyers and advertisers purchase rating points. While this is main motivation of our industry, it’s just a concept. An advertiser’s goal when spending money on radio is to increase sales. They are not purchasing rating points; they are acquiring living, breathing, consumers.
This concept is paramount in a PPM world, where many markets are witnessing unprecedented rating compression. When five stations all have a 0.5 rating, many think the only way to differentiate your station from the competition is to reduce price. This negative auction has had a detrimental impact on our business and your station’s income.
Dropping rates to get the buy does not result in a healthy industry. We need to go back to selling the value of our listeners as consumers. When everyone has a 0.5, we need to make sure an advertiser understands why our 0.5 is more valuable (not cheaper) than the competition’s 0.5.
So how do we accomplish this?
Market the Value of Your Listeners Not all listeners have the same spending power, or buy the same products and services. We need to get back to focusing on who the advertiser needs to reach and why your station is the right choice. Every good station understands the value of qualitative research. Whether it is Nielsen, the Media Audit, Retail Direct, or the Qualitative Diary, radio station salespeople need to differentiate their listeners from the competition.
Qualitative tools bring to light that radio buys don’t deliver rating points, but deliver human beings .who have a high propensity to buy the advertiser’s product or service.
When it comes to qualitative research, many radio station salespeople focus on the standard socioeconomic categories. I urge you to dig deeper than that, and find the product usage categories that your listeners have a high probability to buy. Here is where your listeners’ value really comes into existence
Sell the Relationship That These Listeners Have with Your Station Average quarter-hour is just one element of your station’s estimates as reported by Nielsen. Do your listeners have an emotional relationship with your station? Are your station’s listeners more passionate about your station than the stations tied with you on the ranker? Do you have higher time spent listening or higher first-preference estimates than those around you? If so, document it – and not just with numbers, but also with the implication that your listeners love your station, and are very loyal. This fact means that, by advertising on your station, an advertiser can buy benevolence that they might not get from purchasing another station.
Gary Begin is the founder and president of Sound Advantage Media, a radio programming consulting firm. He has over 30 years programming experience. His book Radio Programming and Branding—The Ultimate Podcasting and Radio Branding Guide is available on amazon.com. Contact Gary at [email protected]; www.soundadvantagemedia.com; 731-437-0536