Grab Their Hearts To Grab Ratings
July 28, 2015
I was having a discussion with an industry associate who works with individuals and companies on brand marketing. We were discussing one of her clients, a female golfer who is a PGA certified instructor. This client is passionate about golf and women's issues; last year she held a ladies-only best ball golf tournament. The purpose was to raise funds to help various women issue-based programs.
During our discussion, my friend asked how her client could get men involved and still keep the teams exclusively female. To increase the possibilities of getting money from all genders and sexual orientations, I suggested a Princess Pass for a day which would allow a man to be an honorary lady for a day. I have to admit my idea derived from the terrible apartheid years in South Africa when "Honorary White" status was given to various ethnic groups doing business in the country or visiting.
"Everyone has to find his or her way. The whole thing reminded me of actor Jack Palace in the role of 'Curly' in the movie "City Slickers" starring Billy Crystal."
I assumed the Princess Pass would help to bring in more money and still keep with the theme of the event. However, her client has blinders and could not envision anything but only women taking part in the golf outing. Remember her goal was to bring in dollars to highlight women's issues and promote golf.
My friend explained, "My client is really smart, but she doesn't understand she can make her own rules. She has passion for what she wants to do, but she is a little scattered on how to accomplish those goals with the tournament."
It was becoming apparent my friend's client was fearful and hung up on the literal as opposed to the possible. Everyone has to find his or her way. The whole thing reminded me of actor Jack Palace in the role of 'Curly' in the movie "City Slickers" starring Billy Crystal. There is a scene when Crystal and Palace's character are riding and having a conversation about life.
Curly told Crystal, "The secret of life is one thing, just one thing, you stick to that and everything else don't mean sh#t."
Crystal: "What's the one thing?"
Curly: "That's what you got to figure out."
I will go one further than Curley; always be open to the possibilities of finding a solution by thinking outside the box.
The conversation I had with my friend about her client reminded me of a jock who was trying to come up with a way for her station to connect with the audience.
Jock: I'm lucky that my cluster includes the jocks on all information dealing with the audience. My PD takes the time to explain all the research our company does and the goals with the audience. I do afternoons at a Top 40 station and still think we are missing something. When we are sharing in the meeting, I bring up my point on how we should be one-on-one with our listeners. Programming points out the promotions and public service we do. But I think what I want to know is how we can own our listeners.
Coach: Have you ever thought about programming?
Jock: That's what my PD has been talking to me about. I am not sure I want to ever do that because it might cause me to lose my edge and I love being directly involved with my audience. I see my boss trying to hold down a shift and program. I respect him, but I know he is a house divided when he is on the air. I never want that.
Coach: Too bad, you should think about programming. Okay, now in terms of dealing with the audience, you're talking about making a connection.
Jock: I wasn't sure what it was called.
Coach: No worries, I knew what you were saying. You are right; there is more than music and giveaways. I have always believed that any format is capable of doing more than being present at the right public events such as a walk or blood drive. Both are important from a marketing standpoint, but there is an emotional connection with some events such as the Habitat for Humanity or the St. Jude Radiothons. Events such as these go to the heart and soul of your target audience and beyond. These are rating and bonding opportunities. These connecting experiences work because they give the audience a chance to join in and contribute on an emotional standpoint. It's that 'One Thing' which can market a station into the hearts of its audience.
Jock: So you are talking about going shoulder to shoulder in a cause.
Coach: You get it. The right cause could potentially affect your station's ratings if you guys consistently hammer away at hitting the heart. You will have people listening or tuning in for physiological reasons far past the music. People these days might be less trusting and have the attention span of a gnat, but hit the right emotional buttons and watch the result over a period of time -- regardless if it's PPM or diary. This is not a one-and-done thing; it has to be an ongoing campaign to tug away at the heart strings.
Jock: Can you give me an example?
Coach: I only share with those who seem to get it and my instincts tell me you do. I will share the highlights, but you'll have to call me for the behind-the-scenes fine detail. Can you do that?
Coach: In a nutshell, I once programed a station and decided to help neighborhoods celebrate themselves. I got local, state, and private agencies involved, but the work for these neighbor celebrations were done by the residents themselves. I just showed up with a plan and sat in and gave pointers during the planning. Meanwhile, I got with sales and they let clients know what we were doing. Before we knew it, clients were trying to get us to come to their neighborhoods. All of this created a marketing and emotional bonanza. Neighborhoods were celebrating the accomplishments of young, old, and those deserving recognition.
Jock: This sounds like stuff churches do
Coach: I never thought of it that way. I can tell you it's about building a legion of believers who will listen and pay attention. It is about finding things your station can turn into the urgency of now. This is a campaign aimed at your core audience and the entire community. By hammering away at the heart it can increase the possibilities for a few more diaries or in the case of PPM, you might avoid long term ratings drops because of panel turnover.