Beware The 52-Week Schedule!


(By Rick Fink) Do you agree with everything you read? Even when it’s from people you completely respect and whose opinion you value? No, me neither. Likewise, while I am very appreciative of you reading these weekly articles, and enjoy the positive feedback, I would never expect you to agree with me 100% of the time.

The idea for this week’s article came while reading yet another article about “only” presenting 52-week advertising schedules.

I think we can all agree that 52-week schedules are what we all strive for. The only thing better than 52-weeks, is 104-weeks, 156-weeks, 208-weeks, or even 260-week schedules.

While this might irritate some of you reading this, I don’t preach 52-week schedules. In fact, when discussing scheduling with young media reps, I typically suggest that they be very careful when using the words “52-week schedule”.

Before you click out, please, hear me out!

I hear many media experts (which I respect) talk about 52-week schedules and some say it is the only thing we should present. The fact is, and this is where reality sets in, there are very few small to medium-sized businesses that can afford a “good” 52-week schedule, and even far fewer that are willing to commit to it.

I was the sales manager for what we believed (we had good proof) was one of the largest billing small market stations in America. A very high percentage of our clients were on annual contracts, but very few, if any, were 52-week advertisers. We had a fair amount of clients that advertised 48 weeks, an enormous amount that were on the air 36 weeks, and many that were on 24 to 32 weeks a year, but zero that advertised all 52 weeks of the year.

Here is my thought… Even if a business can afford a “good” 52-week schedule, and very few can, when we talk 52 weeks to our clients and prospects, it scares the bejesus out of them! (Bejesus; a word my mom used when talking about being scared to death) Here is the real definition: an explanation traditionally attributed to the Irish, used to express surprise or for emphasis.

We are not suggesting that you don’t present annual or longer contracts. We only suggest that you don’t use the words “52 weeks”. My point is, when we suggest 52 weeks and say it’s the “only” option, they might think that if they can’t do the “ultimate 52-week” schedule, maybe they shouldn’t do anything at all.

That is not the case. There are certainly many different businesses and many different business categories where something less than 52 weeks can be very effective.

However, what we need to first consider is, what is the SOV (Share of Voice) for that business category on your station(s). If they have no competition or very limited competition for SOV, you don’t need 52 weeks to dominate. Scheduling the 52, 48, 36, etc. weeks based on budget and competition is a subject of its own that we will visit in the future.

In the meantime, if the business can afford an effective 52-week schedule, by all means, suggest it, but beware… it might scare the bejesus out of them!

Rick Fink from ENS Media can be reached at 605-310-2062 or at [email protected]. Read Rick’s Radio Ink archives here.


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