Targeting the PPM People: How Are They Different? Part 15: Money. That's What They Want.
July 30, 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 This is the fifteenth 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
This week, we’ll begin painting the last part of our picture of the prototypical PPM Prospect by looking at what motivates a consumer to say “Yes” to the PPM.Â And then we’ll go beyond those data to think about what that means: which listeners might select-in to the sample, and which might notâ€¦and how smart stations can exploit this intelligence.Â
We asked our over 400 identified PPM Prospects to identify what factors had influenced their “Yes.”
Of Course It’s About The Moneyâ€¦
We are $hocked â€¦ $hocked â€¦ to learn that the overwhelmingly mo$t important factor in $aying Ye$ to the PPM is the compen$ation from Arbitron.Â As we can see above, nine in ten PPM Prospects admit that the money was influential in their decision.Â (We won’t get hung up about the remainder, except to note that many of them are probably sincere.Â Those tend to constitute a subset of the not-insignificant group who are influenced by non-monetary factors, and most of whom still want the money as well.Â We will discuss that large group next week.)
Money changes everything.Â In the good old diary days (remember when we understood and complained that those samples were too small?) Arbitron slipped a few crisp dollar bills, as token, theoretically cooperation-inducing, compensation, to a household, whether diaries were ultimately returned or not.Â Â Thus, there was no materially significant “cash inducement” to cooperate.Â Now let’s fast forward to The Meter Age.Â Given what The Ratings King now asks of its participants, Arbitron understands the obvious: ain’t almost nobody gonna make their family wear these things around for months for free.Â Or for a few patronizing crisp dollar bills.Â Thus, now we do have a methodology with a major cash inducement â€¦ and what we get is the inescapable sample bias that will predictably accompany the injection of a cash inducement.Â Broadcasters who never took a single class in research methodology or in meteorology don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.Â This is where Arbitron’s “no bias no bias no bias” mantra is most obviously nonsense on its face.Â
If You Take One Thing Away From This Entire Seriesâ€¦
Over the last 15 weeks, we have shown plenty ways that PPM Prospects do not represent the general population.Â But by definition this is the most defining contrast between those who decide our fate and those who do not.Â It’s this simple: almost all who say “Yes” have one thing in common that all who say “No” do not: PPM samples will forever be dramatically and irreparably skewed: completely over-representing consumers for whom the money made it “worth it” and completely under-representing the consumers for whom the costs outweighed the money and other benefits.Â When the litmus test is “is it worth the money?” you BET these two groups are VERY different.
Our findings about how PPM People are different have drawn nothing more than defensive stonewalling from Arbitron, curious defense of Arbitron from some radio researchers and consultants, and no statistics to the contrary.Â So: is this 1000-consumer proprietary national study, all the data it yields, and our analysis of those data, correct, or is Arbitron? Â It is more than a little silly that we are having this conversation.Â Outside our business, anyone would recognize what’s going on here.Â Nothing deep.Â Real basic.Â First day of class in Market Research 101.Â Bias in, bias out.
Put this question to any trained marketer, advertiser, researcher, business economist, commercial psychologist, anthropologist, or to anybody in the burgeoning “rewards” industry, ideally somebody out of Radio, and see what they say.Â Explain how “is the money worth it to me?” is almost a litmus test determining who is in or out of the pool, and then ask them whether they think the resulting in-pool and out-of-the-pool groups, balanced only for their age and sex and ethnicity, are going to yield identical mixes of consumer-types and personality-types and socioeconomic-types.Â Go ahead, ask them.Â Anyone who knows that one fact will tell you two things:Â That Arbitron’s resulting samples will be highly biased.Â And that those biases will produce characteristic differences that are targetable and exploitable.Â Everyone, especially outside our business, will tell you that.Â Except two types of folks:Â Arbitron employees and other folks who have something to lose if it becomes known that the King is naked.
What this means to you
Every smart station should take this week’s mega-finding as food for lots of thought.Â Lots to chew on.Â Lots of ramifications for your audience and your targeting and your success.Â We hope it sets you and your staff to lots of honest reflection, lots of open-ended out-of-the-box thinking, lots of new solutions.Â You wanna make more money?Â Follow the money.Â Follow the money that drives the meter-wearer that drives the meter that drives the data that drive the ratings that drive the money.Â Â Â Here’s how to start thinking about it:
- Which certain parts/types of my audience would have a greater absolute need for the cash than certain other parts/types?Â
- Can we identify and define types who meet this test while also matching some of the other shared characteristics of PPM Prospects that emerge from the data?Â
- Which other, less-desperate, parts of my audience, although certainly enticed by the money, are nonetheless going to say no, and how are they different from those who are similarly situated yet say yes?Â
- What makes the difference?
- Who are they?Â
- Using these answers, you can, and should, begin to craft a plan for Targeting The People of the People Meter.Â
Next Week:Â But Wait!Â There’s More!Â It’s Not Only The Money!