PPM results in Philadelphia have continued to demonstrate that the perpetual 12+ ratings champ WBEB (B101.1) is seemingly impenetrable. Programmers quickly point to the significance of WBEB's ongoing marketing as a primary reason the station continues to hold its own. WBEB has done such a great job marketing their radio station that it is not surprising to see how well they have performed in PPM. WBEB's independent owner Jerry Lee gives his staff the tools to create great radio and achieve great results.
But this is not the case at most radio stations or groups for that matter. Radio companies don't seem to believe in their own business. We sell advertising to others, so why don't we believe in advertising ourselves? Owners and managers sometimes only reluctantly market in hopes that they won't have to market in the future. Can you imagine any other consumer marketers taking the same approach?
No. People in every other consumer market expect to use advertising and promotion and budget accordingly. Radio companies need to overcome this challenge as well. Marketing a good product is fundamental in any business. And effectively advertising a radio station has proven to move the merchandise.
As you look around the country, you can see a correlation between stations that make an ongoing commitment to advertising and promotion and stations that win. Furthermore, one can see the opposite correlation with more stations that don't make marketing a regular, untouchable expense. Put your station(s) in a position to market them externally, at least a little in every book. You will see the Arbitron peaks and valleys smooth out and you will be in a position to at least slightly blunt any marketing attacks from competitors.
Never overestimate the product knowledge of your audience. For those in diary based markets, the Arbitron diary is a blank page. Fight the battle of unaided recall and use your own airwaves. Build benchmarks. Benchmarks are things people associate with your station. A benchmark can be a personality, an ongoing promotion, positioning statement or the format itself. Anything a listener can remember about your station is a benchmark. They spur diary keepers to recall listening to a station. This is a great place to start and the byproduct is increased ratings.
In reading best selling viral marketing book "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell; you'll see he talks about the lesson of stickiness. "There is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible. All you have to do is find it."
Radio Consulting Services specializes in programming advice to radio stations in multiple formats.
Jon Holiday of Radio Consulting Services was a top programming executive at Jones Radio Networks for 15 years, providing radio consulting since 1998. In addition to overseeing the programming for the Jones 24/7 formats; he also supervised the production and promotions departments.
Prior to that, Holiday programmed and/or was on-air at Boston, Miami, Denver, Tampa, Providence and Hartford. He was PD of one of the 25 Highest Rated AC/Hot AC Stations in the nation according to industry publication Radio & Records.