Know Your Client’s Client


(By Charlie Sislen) This column spends a fair bit of time covering the importance of being a partner to your advertiser, and not just another vendor. That approach takes tremendous effort. But if successful, it can be rewarding both emotionally and financially.

Possibly the easiest way to build this bond is getting to know who your client’s clients are. Many direct advertisers may not have an accurate or complete picture of their ideal consumers. Often, the ad agency buyer is directed to purchase a broad demographic group without any direction as to who the real target customer is.

The first step is to do your homework. Most qualitative services (e.g., Scarborough and The Media Audit) allow you to create a profile of the advertiser’s target customer. Build a picture of who the advertiser wishes to reach and evaluate it by:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Location (county or ZIP group)
  • Income
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Family status
  • Lifestyle
  • Entertainment choices
  • Media habits

It is often surprising how this little bit of legwork can make you stand out from the competition. This is especially remarkable since many digital outlets have built vast and intricate data banks around their consumer habits. Often, the data does not trickle down to the end user.

This data is important not only to selecting the appropriate advertising outlet, but also the commercial style and message. A product that appeals to suburban parents should have a different message and feel than a product that appeals to young single urbanites.

This information is also valuable when deciding what kind of event and promotions the advertiser should connect with.

It is amazing how this simple task can distinguish you from the competition.

The one issue that can occur is when the data works against your station or outlet. How do you handle that? While every situation is different, it is wise to present the data as is and act as a real consultant. Even though it may seem negative in the short-term, the long-term benefits are tremendous. If your outlet is not right for the client, what is the likelihood that you will get a renewal?

In all cases, your reputation as a partner in your advertiser’s success will be enhanced by doing your homework, showing you understand the profile of the client’s consumers, and honestly presenting the data as you see it.

Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at [email protected]. This essay is part of a series titled “Growing the Radio Pie.” To view past articles, visit The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. online here.


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