Targeting the PPM People: How Are They Different? Part 13: Morning Companionship/Content Users Say â€œYes!â€
July 16, 2012
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 What Arbitron doesn’t want us to know is that in fact, smart broadcasters can maximize investment in, and thus maximize return on, the PPM Prospect type of listeners.Â This is the thirteenth 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
Four weeks ago, we began discussing how PPM Prospects are atypical in their feelings about radio stations.Â We have shown that willingness to wear a PPM is higher among those (slightly more than half the population), who actually have a favorite music station and listen at least one quarter-hour a day, is higher still if they truly love that station, is higher among listeners who value radio as an information source, and that it is higher among those who actually have a favorite morning show.Â This week, we look at WHY consumers use morning radio, what drives people to morning drive and why that matters a lot to your ratings success.
Morning Listening:Â Not About What We Produce.Â About What They Consume.
Most of us in Radio still tend to think of ourselves as manufacturers.Â Our morning product is, duh, the show we design and produce.Â A particular mix of elements and attributes, ideally including signature benchmarks, signature attitude, signature chemistry, and at least one well-liked and unique host.Â But that is not really our product.Â
Our real products are the end results: what our morning shows do for the consumer.Â Radio consumers have all kinds of different reasons to listenâ€¦ a wide variety of perceived need-to-haves and nice-to-haves in the morning.Â At NuVoodoo, we believe very strongly in turning morning show research inside out, making it a whole lot less about us and a whole lot more about the consumer, benefit by benefit.Â We would urge you to demand the same from your research provider of choice:Â Instead of starting at the factory, itemizing and dissecting the show’s product ingredients and attributes, let’s want to get into the head and heart of our show’s target user, not as an “audience member,” but as a “consumer of personal benefits.”Â Why is she listening, in terms of what it does for her?Â What does she get out of it?Â What does she expect and receive in terms of benefits to her? How well do we meet/exceed expectations?Â Have we correctly positioned our benefits to target her? Are we optimally communicating that position to the target consumer, in terms of both exposure tactics and persuasiveness?Â How strongly are we keeping the promise of the position? Defending leadership in the position?Â Growing in the position?Â And importantlyâ€¦starting again with the consumerâ€¦ in what value/benefits can we grow? What benefit-driven positions are both in demand and available or not well-defended?Â
Above, we have simplified the choices of morning benefit priority to a very short list of four very different bottom lines.Â These different benefit-consumer-types certainly suggest consumers with very different personality types.Â And indeed they do.Â It turns out that there is a very clear correlation between what you want from radio in the morning and whether you will carry a PPM.Â
People Who Need People â€¦ (In The Morning) â€¦ Are The Likeliest PPM People
The more human-centered your morning radio benefit is, the more likely you are to influence the ratings.Â Listeners who crave the benefit of morning companionship from Radio are also the most likely to wind up carrying an electronic, snooping, cold, companion from Radio.Â They say yes more than twice as often as they say no.Â (Importantly, the above data further reinforces a critical pattern we have already been discussing in painting our psychographic picture of the PPM Prospect: he tends to be someone who is already comfortable connecting with benevolent but unseen people electronically.) Â Morning Info-seekers, who also prioritize talent-provided-content, but arguably less so the talents themselves, rank next in PPM cooperation levels, followed by the less-talent-dependent energy-seekers, and finally, the least-talent-dependent relaxation-seekers.Â Apparently, people who use Radio in the morning primarily “to relax” must already be way too stressed to take on the incremental stress of a PPM.Â They are even less likely to say yes than those who don’t use morning radio at all.Â (But, of course, that doesn’t mean we’re better off targeting the latter group; one yes from one morning-relaxation-seeker still translates into infinitely higher morning ratings than will a hundred yesses from morning-abstainers.)
The Most Music In The Morning Means The Most Un-Metered Morning Users
This last chart confirms and underlines our findings from the preceding chart.Â Additionally, it makes this critical point:Â Even though personality-show users take meters at a much higher rate than “mostly music” users, it is not so simple that the more personality and the less music you offer, the higher your PPM acceptance rate.Â In fact, it shows that those who perceive their favorite show as evenly divided between talk and music are better PPM prospects than “all-talk” show listeners.Â But both groups are much more likely to say yes than devotees of the “more music morning show.” Â The much lower acceptance for the PPM among a music-intensive show’s listeners means that, to be competitive, your show had better attract a much larger “actual” audience than its personality competitors, to offset its much lower hit rate among the people who determine our ratings audience.
What this means to you
People who have meters will influence the ratings all day.Â People who don’t have meters cannot.Â Thus, people who are looking for companionship and content in the morning will exert a disproportionate share of the vote in all dayparts.Â If you have a morning show that can compete for these consumers, you need to address them as a primary goal.Â If you do not have such a show, obviously those are the kind of people who, if you bring them aboard for post-AMD, can help you the most.Â And, if you are indeed that kind of a station, consider reevaluating your morning approach.Â Â Now you have seen how the “most music morning show” position, virtually never a path to #1 anyway, can actually backfire as a ratings strategy.Â So: are you actually better off (1) delivering a zag-against-the-zig “more music” show, packaging it, and investing cross-promotional opportunities in it, as many of us have done for years or (2) serving up a companionship-filled, info-adequate, just not talk-dominant, show, that is targeted to your audience and folks who don’t like the other personality choices, even though that show will be very unlikely to break through as a market leader?Â In other words, should you make what seems like tactically counterintuitive move, which flies in the face of recent conventional wisdom, in pursuit of a result-oriented strategy to maximize your total week share?Â Should you avoid wasting marketing resources the listener who shuns morning personality, and instead take an increased-personality approach? Â Doing so while conceding that this show itself, (just like the shut-up-and-play-the-hits show), won’t win, but could in fact significantly boost your performance all day by getting more actually edible (PPM-inclined) fish on the line?Â And nearly all stations will want to revisit this question: as budgets get inexorably tighter, are we correctly calculating the costs and benefits to our bottom line of a high-priced morning show?Â
In general, think of this, and all our findings about what makes the PPM people different, as ways to re-think your audience targeting and marketing, to win in the only arena that matters.Â Arbitron has dealt us a new hand, from a stacked deck where some types of cards are coming up a lot more often than they “ought to.”Â Know which cards those are, decide how to maximize your success with the consumer types they represent, and grow your numbers.Â Change your future.