Targeting the PPM People: How Are They Different? Recap Pt. 3: WHO Says "Yes! Meter Me! Meter Me!"...And WHY?
September 4, 2012
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 This is the twentieth, and next-to-last, article in our series discussing how stations can identify and exploit the key differences between radio users who will agree to take the PPM and those who will not.
In the past two weeks, weâ€™ve been recapping some of the key take-aways from this series.Â Â We have broken our findings into three general categories: (1) What are their communications habits? Â (2) What are their attitudes toward radio?Â And (3) What kinds of people are they? Â What can we learn about them and what motivates them?Â This week, weâ€™ll recap our findings on that third category.Â The more we understand about what kinds of people will agree to carry a PPM around, the better we can plan strategically to maximize our appeal to those folks, and accordingly, our ratings and revenue.
The notion that people who say yes to the PPM are just like people who say no, (except for the otherwise insignificant fact that one group says yes while the other says no) boils down to flat-out reality-denying flat-earth-silliness.Â To believe that story, even before seeing the data we have begun to uncover, one would need to be in denial of proven economic and behavioral science and accepted marketing/pricing theory, not to mention plain old common sense.Â In every consumer cost-benefit decision, the yesses are the people who say "itâ€™s worth it" while the others say "nope, not worth it."Â How a consumer comes out on that decision speaks volumes about their values, priorities, economic condition, lifestyle, needs, and tastes.Â Would we ever pretend that there is no real difference between a consumer who is willing to pay $100 for a seat at a football game or a pair of shoes and a consumer of the same age and gender and ethnicity who is not willing to pay $100, except for the otherwise insignificant distinction that one says yes while the other says no?
As With Any Consumer, The Key is "What is the Benefit to the PPM Prospect?"
So the most significant distinction between the PPM prospect and the non-prospect is the obvious one, this simple economic fact: The PPM prospect is saying yes, in order to receive some anticipated benefits (financial or otherwise), that (s)he perceives to be worth the anticipated costs.Â The non-prospect, on the other hand, says no, perceiving that these benefits are not worth the costs.Â Knowing only that fact, any student in a freshman research-methodology or microeconomics class knows that by definition, that branching will produce two pools with two very different mixes of consumer types, and that branching itself will hold the key to understanding them.
Any quest to profile or identify consumers for any product or service should stem from that purchase decision, focusing on the benefit that made it worth the cost.Â Why are they consuming the product/service in the first place?"Â What exactly does it do for them?Â How do they complete "I say yes, because I want________________ enough that it is worth the cost/burden to me"?Â Â So letâ€™s start by identifying what those benefits are that drive a consumerâ€™s choice to strap on the PPM.Â Based on those benefits alone, we will understand a lot about the consumer who says "Yes."
- At Least Nine in Ten PPM Prospects are Motivated by The Money
- The X-Factor:Â Starting at Mid-Income, "Communicate Back to Radio" Kicks In As a Benefit
In the diary day, Arbitronâ€™s surprise-fiver-in-the-envelope incentive payments served pretty much as "thank you" tokens, increasing the diarykeeperâ€™s sense of being significant and appreciated, and thus, cooperative.Â In the PPM game, money means a lot more than that.Â It is the overwhelming single motivating reason, regardless of income level, when a consumer says yes.Â Nine in 10 consumers who agree to be electronically monitored by the radio industry cite the money, far more than cite other potential benefits.Â Now, just because money is the prime driver, the key is still the "worth it."Â Plenty of lower-income folks, for whatever reason, still say "not worth it," while a significant minority of upper-income folks nonetheless think "worth it."Â But whether itâ€™s about making ends meet or about indulging in a luxury purchase, the bottom line is that most of these folks carry the thing so they can get the k-ching.
We might say, cynically, "yeah, and the other 10 percent are liars."Â But the other ten percent (allegedly not motivated by the money) do tend to be part of the large group that cites "having your voice heard" (by us) as an important benefit.Â It turns out that the PPM consumer is defined mostly by one or both of these two motivating benefits.Â Now, for the folks at the lowest economic level, non-cash benefits are relatively weak factors.Â But at household incomes above $50,000, hereâ€™s your Venn diagram:Â 60% in the non-overlapping "only want money" area.Â 10% in the non-overlapping "only want to be heard" area.Â Â Plus another big 30% in the "want to be heard and also want the money" area.Â So it is fair to think of that "Hear Me!" factor as a huge influence on the pool.Â For as many as two in five meter-wearers, it may act as a tie-breaker when the financial benefit alone might not have been a slam-dunk.Â
What kind of consumer grabs for the cash?Â Wants their voice to be heard?
- High-income households much less likely to take a PPM.Â (Good!)
- 25-34â€™s Are More Willing than Others to Take a PPM
- Parents Are More Willing than Non-parents to Take a PPM
- Middle Americans Are More Willing than Others to Take a PPM
When we look at every point of differentiation that our data show between PPM prospects and non-prospects, we see a direct connection to that cost/benefit decision.Â Seeing the benefit as worth it is of course what separates the prospects from the less cool kids.Â Accordingly, the data are not surprising and confirm what benefits are driving the decision.Â The greatest economic need tends to be among parents.Â 25-34 is the particular economic crunch time for young households.Â The least need tends to be found in high-income households.Â And all three of those facts correctly predict the top three bullet points above about who will want meters the most, and the least.Â (We retort "Good!" to the lower rate in high-income households for the simple reason that lower-income consumers report spending more of their days with audio entertainment â€“ usually music â€“ than do upper-income consumers.Â So hey... hooray for under-representing the latter as effectively as Arbitron does.)
Meanwhile, the populist-supporterâ€™s desire to communicate up/have oneâ€™s voice heard/cooperate in a community-trust-based system tests as a potent value in non-coastal America.Â The Midwest first, and then the South.Â Not coincidentally, and not predictable based on the money factor alone, these are the regions where PPM cooperation levels peak strongly.Â (Interestingly, PPM rates are also somewhat elevated at the political-wing extremes, precisely because some of those folks are so intent on being heard.)Â And oh yeah â€“ duh â€“ anyone who has ever tried to conduct any kind of primary research in the USA knows that this is true.
The lessons for stations are simple:Â Think downscale in your targeting.Â When you do think upscale, think upscale people with passion, particularly station fans, but also others who want to make their voice heard.Â Think about folks who will grab for money.Â Think about folks whose lifestyles need money now.Â Think about parents.Â Think about your 25-34â€™s.Â Think about folks who may not be 25-34, but have much in common with those who are.Â Think about folks who have more traditional "Middle American" values and lifestyles, regardless of where they actually live.Â Â
...And...Even More Direct Benefits For Radio Stations!
- Hear Me!" PPM Prospects Much More Likely To Have A Favorite Music StationÂ
- "Hear Me!" PPM Prospects Are Much More Likely To Listen To AM
- "Hear Me! PPM Prospects Much More Likely To Have A Favorite Morning Show
- PPM Prospects Are Much More Influenced by Contesting than Non-Prospects
The hits just keep on coming.Â So wow.Â Arbitron has given us a methodology that targets exactly the people we can reach the most easily with marketing, targets the people who care more about radio, and gives us two very clear motivating drivers to follow to find the target, and thereâ€™s even more?Â Yes.Â The really cool thing about the folks who will carry this device for a few hundred bucks is that not surprisingly they are much more motivated by big prize contesting than the average bear.Â And the really cool thing about the folks who want their voices heard is that they are disproportionately much more passionate about radio than the average bear.Â We can help ourselves bigtime by focusing our targeting on people who can become passionate about us.Â And just to ensure, make sure we get their attention, offering them a big promotional love bribe.Â
The future belongs to the station that knows who wears the meters around here.Â And what she wants.Â
* How to interpret these numbers.Â All data are drawn from NuVoodooâ€™s national study of 1000 adults 18-49.Â Please always 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 data we present showing the percentage who say they would take a PPM, among those who are already cooperating in a research study, 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