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A recent post about on-air promotion referenced putting up Road Signs to help listeners understand how to use your show. It sparked an email dialogue with a morning personality about how promos can influence listener behavior.
Without going into all of the details of our discussion, the point is that most stations are so focused on chasing appointments, it’s almost as if we are arguing with listeners over their behavior. It’s a never-ending series of instructions to “do this” or “do that” or “go here” or “go there”.
In the end, we have to understand what promotional efforts are capable of.
Many stations attempt to gain share by shouting at the audience louder and more often, and call it marketing. This is not only ineffective, it’s wrong.
We cannot command the listener to respond any more than Del Monte can cause me to like canned Brussels Sprouts.
Yet many stations run endless promos filled with data points and all the information they can jam into 30 or 45 or 60 seconds hoping to cause get the listener to push a button or make a “favorite station” decision in their favor. It’s like we’re fighting with them for their attention, wrestling them into submission.
We are incapable of convincing the audience of anything. They will make their own decisions, come to their own conclusions based on their experiences and personal preference. There’s no amount of promotion that can argue them into submission. So, is it a lost cause? Shall we stop running promotions? Give up? Of course not. Just adjust your approach.
Apple never tries to sell me a computer, phone or tablet. Ever. They just show me what their products do, and how they fit into my life. They demonstrate, showcase and lead me into a relationship that converts me into a raving fan that not only spreads their marketing message for them, I defend them against critics. Apple hasn’t convinces me to buy their products, but they have persuaded and influenced me through their coordinated messaging.
How does that relate to your radio performance? Of course, it all comes back to relevance: First you have to provide actual value. Then, it’s a matter of how you fit your target audience, and how you communicate in a way that resonates with the audience. Listeners make funny choices. They are irrational. And they usually are unable to explain their listening selections so that it makes sense to broadcasters. But they don’t have to.
Stop trying to convince listeners. Practice the art of persuasion and influence. Craft brand, product, show and station messaging to lead the audience to discover your benefits on their terms. That assumes, of course, that your product is aligned with your target audience values (do you understand the audience?), that your station or show’s character/personality is compelling and that the presentation has actual benefits.
It’s not only more effective, it’s the only way to create lasting impressions and develop a loyal audience.