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At a recent family gathering, I overheard this exchange:
60-something year old Aunt: Hey, Jackson, you have a birthday coming up, don’t you?
6 year old Jackson (soon to be 7): Yep, I’m going to be 7!
Aunt: Do you like Legos?
Aunt: Do you know what I’m getting you for your birthday?
Jackson: (thinks about it, then) LEGOS?
Aunt: NO. Not Legos. You’ll just have to wait and see.
Jackson’s face dropped. He was disappointed, confused and kind of angry. This is how your listeners feel when you lead them along without paying off to their expectations. And we do it all the time.
We ask them if they like a lot of music, promote how much music we play, then cram 8-minute stop sets down their throat.
We tell them to keep listening because something good will happen at 7:15, but at 7:23 we haven’t gotten around to it yet.
We promote that we have a fun, friendly morning show, but when they tune in at 6:05, we haven’t quite warmed up yet and are just going through the motions.
We tell them that if they become a member of our loyalty clubs, they will earn points and collect rewards, but when they have a million points, they find out they can really only use the points to enter a sweepstakes.
Why do we do this to them? At this rate, we’re never going to be their favorite Aunt.
Spoiler alert: The aunt had bought him a really cool book ABOUT Legos. But by the time Jackson gets it, he’ll probably have decided that she isn’t worth his time.