Heavy Listeners As Important As Frequent Flyers


(By Andrew Curran) Frequent flyers on American Airlines account for just 13% of total passengers, yet they deliver 50% of annual revenue. These business travelers generate 6.7 times more revenue than the typical passenger who flies American just once per year. In a similar way for radio, consumption is driven by the heavy listeners who deliver, on average, four times the occasions and TSL as light users.

Flights have never been so full, but not all passengers are created equal. Frequent flyers travel more often and spend more per trip, so airlines are increasingly super-serving this small group to build relationships that foster loyalty. The same is true for radio, we deliver the most reach, but our heavy listeners are our bread and butter and deliver a disproportionate impact on ratings.

For Delta’s part, when a life event such as a newborn baby, a job transfer, or an illness provides a downturn in travel, the newly launched program Reclaim My Status allows their best customers to maintain their Medallion status. According to an airline spokesperson, “We’re always looking for new ways to take care of our customers and that includes injecting even more empathy into travel … Loyalty goes both ways.”

Radio knows firsthand the impact of life events on listening. When a natural disaster strikes, radio listening surges. On the other hand, with the school year wrapping up, PUMM levels will predictably change.

Like a vacation traveler who flies only once or twice per year compared to a business road warrior who flies once or twice per week, not all radio listeners are created equal.

When it comes to marketing, the opportunity is to identify those listeners who tune in on average 31 times per week, because they have more occasions to give compared to the light listeners who tune in on average seven times per week.

Even someone who tunes in once per week for 10 minutes is a P1, but their contribution won’t move the needle. The goal is to connect with heavy listening P1s with more listening to give.

For more insights on the parallels between airline frequent flyers and heavy radio listeners, read DMR/Interactive’s latest blog, “This is Your Captain Speaking: Lessons from 39,000 Feet.”

Andrew Curran is President and COO of DMR Interactive, and a frequent contributor to the Randy Lane Company Content Ideas newsletter. This week he stresses the importance of identifying and super-serving heavy P1 listeners.


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