(By Charlie Sislen) I can’t even count the number of radio station pitches I’ve seen that include a coverage map. While a coverage map can be informative, it has very little value to most advertisers.
A coverage map, according to engineers, displays where your signal reaches. It does not necessarily demonstrate where your actual listeners live. In my opinion, it can be a negative. In an age of OTT, cable zones, and digital geofencing that can narrow who is exposed to an advertiser’s message, paying for radio listeners who are outside of an advertiser’s target zone may be seen as a waste.
Do you know where your listeners live?
If not, the first step is to do your research. Good Program Directors can tell you the areas of the market – even down to neighborhoods – that your station focuses on. While this is valuable, it doesn’t always mean dollar signs to an advertiser.
A more valuable way is for Nielsen subscribers to use their local market survey data to quantify where their listeners live. Although it could be a small portion of the entire market, you can say how much of your audience lives in the advertiser’s trading area. While the Nielsen data is a sample of the general population and can fluctuate between surveys, you can match up where your listeners live with the geographic area that the advertiser believes they need to target. When it comes to estimates, it’s often most advantageous to use cume rating as it allows you to put into context what percentage of the advertiser’s target area tunes into your station.
Often you can build a radius map around the geography. What ZIP codes are within the advertiser’s trading area (for example, a 5-mile radius) and how well does your station perform in that region? Prove to your prospect that your listeners live near their locations.
By using one of the many qualitative tools available, a smart sales rep can go one step further. You can tell the advertiser which specific ZIP codes they should focus on. Simply pick the qualitative category that best matches the advertiser’s target and then document the ZIP codes where those potential consumers live. This is especially powerful for retailers who have multiple locations. After you have consulted them on where their potential customers live, you can then demonstrate that your listeners live there too.
As mentioned above, this geo-targeting ability is the focus of many advertisers and helps them see that they are buying customers effectively. A sales rep can demonstrate their problem-solving skills and make a case for why their station (or cluster) delivers the geographic region that is desirable to the advertiser.
Charlie Sislen is a partner at Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-956-0363 or by e-mail at [email protected]