I’d Rather Know Than Not Know


(By Bob McCurdy) Do we prefer investing our money with a financial advisor who knows more or less about the market? A doctor who knows more or less about their specialty? A professor who knows more or less about a subject?

It is safe to say the majority of us would prefer those knowing “more”.

Is media sales different? Do most clients prefer investing their ad dollars with a rep who knows more or less about their cluster, the market, the competition, other media or marketing? The answer is obvious. They prefer dealing with a professional.

When you are in the presence of someone, who knows their stuff and speaks in specifics you can’t help but be impressed. Would you rather compete against this type of individual or someone who is not quite as “sharp”?

Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger has said, “I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.”

“Knowing more” doesn’t belong to the smartest. That is good news for all of us.

When selling, I was on the lookout for any information that would give me an edge, make me smarter and separate me from the competition. Even if I couldn’t use it immediately, I developed a system to retain it so it would be handy when needed. For years, I have collected the writings of smart people like Pierre Bouvard, Fred Jacobs, Charlie Sislen, Buzz Knight and others.

The excellent salesperson’s antennae is never down when it comes to knowing more.

My first week in the business, a salesperson took me aside and pulled out a single sheet of paper which broke down each Richmond radio station’s audience by male/female percentage as well as by demo. One simple sheet of paper enabled him to highlight the differences between stations in terms of gender and demo appeal in a way that was easy for an advertiser to understand. Brilliant for 1976. I borrowed his concept and have been using it ever since with Scarborough data.

Do you think you could find a way to weave the following into a conversation with a client if you represented Station A or Station C, who compete against Station B and Station D and rank higher?

Station A’s audience is 49% more likely to have a college degree+, 48% more likely to be in Management, and 35% more likely to be employed full time than the average MSA resident.

Talking point: Station A’s audience is 35%-50% more likely to fall in an upscale category.

Station A’s listeners are also 25% more likely to be working fulltime, 28% more likely to be in Management and 33% more likely to have a college degree+ than Station B’s. Station A’s male/female composition is also the exact opposite of station B’s.

Talking point: Station A’s audience is about 30% more upscale than Station B’s and appeals to a different audience, complementing Station B.

Same powerful story with Station C vs Station D. Do this for the entire market and you will not only “know more” but control the narrative as well.

It takes minutes to do. Just do an IQP for each station cutting and pasting them on to an excel spreadsheet. There are a million stories waiting to be uncovered and discussed in every market by those who believe it is better to know than not know and take the time to do something about it.

Bob McCurdy is now retired and can be reached at [email protected]


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