Targeting the PPM People: How Are They Different? (Part 9: Why Music Station â€œPartisanshipâ€ Still Matters)
June 11, 2012
By Joel Lind
To succeed today, stations must maximize their appeal to those who control that success:Â those who wear a PPM.Â And, no matter what Arbitron says, the PPM-friendly population, pure and simple, is nowhere close to a representative sample of the population in general.Â NuVoodoo’s national study of 1000 adults 18-49 shows that there are several key differences between radio users who will agree to take the PPM and those who will not.Â This is the ninth article in our series discussing those differences and how they can help stations win and change the future.
First, please bear in mind that 100% of our sample are already research-receptive people: people who at least agreed to answer a few questions.Â Experience tells us that only about 30% of the population will participate in any research.Â Therefore, any information we share about “Arbitron-friendlies” should be considered in this context.Â We also know respondents are always quicker to agree to a theoretical question than to commit to the actual behavior.Â So the percentages who say they will do something are always greater than the percentages who will in fact do so.
In the past few weeks, we have shown that PPM Prospects differ from Non-Prospects in many ways: their income levels [click here], their “time of life” psychographics [click here], their “Middle American” mindset [click here], their family status [click here], their use of digital devices [click here], their Facebook activity and receptivity to mass-mailings [click here], their participation in big-prize contesting [click here], and their amenability to texting from radio stations [click here].Â This week, we begin to look at their relationship to Radio.Â Not surprisingly, just as they differ from average listeners in other ways, PPM Prospects also differ, and significantly, from average listeners in how they feel about and use our medium.
Plenty of Folks Out There in RadioLand Don’t Have A “Favorite Music Station.”
As the chart above shows, about four in nine consumers today simply are not identifying themselves as partisans to any FM music radio station.Â You probably already know this, if in your research you have been asking not the forced question “What is your favorite music radio station?” but the unbiased wording “Some people have a favorite music radio station, and some do not.Â Do you have one?” Â The non-affiliation syndrome may be slightly more pronounced among young men, and in larger markets, and toward the coasts, but it applies to virtually all groups.Â Okay, but is this even a relevant statistic in 2012?Â Does the quaint concept of station/listener emotional involvement even matter, when all we are measuring is the objective commodity of station-listening time?Â A simple little device knows all and hears all.Â And it neither hears nor cares about passion.
In the diarykeeping day, we knew that partisanship mattered a lot.Â After all, the more attached a user was, the more he would actively think about listening to us.Â The more he would remember listening to us.Â The more he would want to “vote” for us.Â Thus, the more he would write our call letters down in her diary.Â The less-emotionally-attached listener, on the other hand, might listen just as much, but would record that listening less passionately, less vigilantly, and thus just less, period.Â But today, with the PPM, we have eliminated the need for active and subjective listener participation in the ratings process, and we have a more reliable methodology for measuring listening accurately.Â And an hour of listening to our station counts just as much, regardless of whether the listener loves us to pieces or whether he listens but doesn’t even know our name.Â So perhaps we look at the chart above and say, “Who cares that a listener doesn’t feel like a partisan?Â Her quarter-hours are just as green as anyone else’s!”Â Well, yes, that is true.Â In the “real world.”Â BUTâ€¦the ratings game is not playing in the real world.Â It is playing in an artificial and largely self-selecting subset, the PPM-wearers’ world.
Music Station Partisans Say “Yes” To Arbitron Lots More Than Other Listeners
So here’s why music-station-partisanship is still important.Â The chart above measures the people who matter: it represents the research-friendly population, and among them, those who matter most to us, because they listen at least one quarter-hour per day.Â Check out this dramatic difference: People who have a favorite FM music station are three times as likely to say “Yes” to the PPM as they are to say “No.”Â Meanwhile, people who do not have a favorite FM music station have a “Yes:No” ratio about half of that: less than two to one.Â The result, of course is that station partisans are disproportionately over-represented in the ratings pool.
What this means to you
You want to target the people most likely to wear the Meter.Â And in order to do that, you want to attract the kind of people who do in fact care about a station.Â Not because they are heavier listeners (and in fact they often are not).Â But because they are more valuable in the Arbitron game.Â Do everything you can to make your brand something they want to identify with.Â And, and this is important:Â do that not by thinking like broadcasters (producers), but by thinking like listeners (consumers).Â What drives their emotions?Â What does it say now, instead of call letters, on their bumper stickers?Â Ask yourself this question:Â are they more likely to identify emotionally with us because we play more songs in a row? Isn’t that what we’ve been trying to do for decades, even as partisanship has been steadily ebbing?Or are they more likely to identify emotionally with us because we share their value system, understand their lives, are involved in the things they care about, speak their language, and, in the era of ubiquitous social networking, truly feel like a member of their tribe?Â Change your futureâ€¦by attracting genuine emotional involvement and affiliation with your audience.Â And by appealing to the kind of listener who is actually going to care about a radio station.