Targeting the PPM People: How Are They Different? (Part 10: I Love You So Much, Iâ€™d Wear A Strange Device for You!)
June 18, 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 tenth 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.Â
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]. Last week [click here], we began to look at their relationship to Radio. We showed that, although only a narrow majority of listeners today are “partisans” (having any favorite FM music station), those partisans are much more likely than the rest of the audience to say “yes” to the PPM. This week, we will drill deeper into their emotional connection to radio. And the news, for stations that nurture those relationships with listeners, just keeps getting better.
Many of us grew up at a time when it was taken for granted that everyone not only had his or her favorite music radio station, but typically was quite attached to it.Â The audience of a successful station identified with it, was loyal to it, and it served as a tribal branding.Â They unabashedly used the word “love” to describe their feelings for the station.Â Back in the day, listeners would fall over each other to win a station T-shirt, and would wear it with pride when out with their peers.Â Or would display their station’s call letters on their rear bumper as they motored around town.Â It was a way of saying “This is one of my favorite things.Â This is a meaningful part of who I am.” Â Those days are gone forever, over a long time ago.Â Avowed listener/station affiliation is nothing like it used to be.
They Might Be Partisansâ€¦But That’s Not Love
As we showed last week, only a slim majority of consumers today are even “partisans” of any music station.Â And, as the chart above shows, fewer than 3 in 10 among those partisans say they “really love” that station.Â In other words, only about 16% of the population has a music station they really love.Â The trend has been going on for a very long time, and some savvy broadcasters have been tracking its steady and unrelenting progression in the research for decades.Â An awful lot of radio users in 2012 are no longer looking for love.Â Or even a relationship.Â They are happy just to dance with us.Â And they often don’t even care what our name is.Â To nearly half the consumers today, even identifying as partisans or fans of a music station, much less loving that station, even though it may get the bulk of their TSL, seems superfluous, not connected to any real benefit, and not worthy of their emotional capital.Â It sure isn’t that young people aren’t advertising other kinds of cool brands on their T-shirts anymore.Â And it sure isn’t that drivers have stopped displaying bumper stickers to promote their passions.Â It is simply that even when they have a favorite station, listeners are much less likely to consider it a passion or a cool brand, period.
What’s Love Got To Do With It?Â Plenty!Â Â High Passion = More PPM Penetration!
Last week, we showed that those who have a favorite station are significantly more likely to accept a PPM than those who have none.Â But, as we can see above, it goes further than that.Â It turns out that even among the partisans, the closer they feel to their favorite station, the more likely they are to wear a device.Â In the chart above, the first pair of bars represents those who rated their attachment “1” or “2” on our five-point scale, the second pair those who said “3” or “4,” and the final pair those who said “5.”Â Yes, fewer listeners today may actually have a favorite station, and fewer of them may “love” that favorite station.Â But, as this chart shows dramatically,Â listeners who love a radio station (not necessarily ours!) are precisely the listeners most likely to be sitting on the jury that decides all radio stations’ fate.
What this means to you
You cannot afford to be merely a disposable commodity with no emotional involvement.Â If you are a station with many listeners but no lovers, your Arbitron numbers will underperform your “actual” share of the audience.Â To be loved, and thus win at the PPM game, and thus make more money, you must do two things.Â Thing One: You need to attract listeners who are throwbacks to the days when people actually loved radio stations.Â And this does not mean attracting older demos.Â As we showed both last week and above here, there are plenty of 18-34’s who are partisans, and plenty of them love their station.Â If your target listener is someone who is essentially apathetic, or has an attitude, about radio, and will never love any station, you are making your job a lot harder.Â Because they may listen plenty and still never deliver you the numbers, because they aren’t being measured.Â And Thing Two: You need to cultivate genuine emotional attachment.Â Do everything you can to make your brand something they want to identify with.Â Share their value system.Â Understand their lives.Â Be involved in the things they care about.Â Speak their language.Â “Liking you” on Facebook may be a start, but if you were actually a person, would you actually be their friend?Â Change your future â€¦ by seeking out listeners who can and want to love, and then winning that love.