Saturday, December 26, 2009

We All Know About Hot Zips

.. but, these tight-budget days, the smartest among us are finding ways to USE what they know, by putting it into action.

For the last twenty years (at least), everyone has been building, maintaining, growing and mailing/phoning an active listener (hopefully, not limited only to contest winners, but also including the kind of folks who enjoy voicing their opinions on the radio they hear) data base.

OK. What now?

If you are planning to do direct mail in the next survey, ask your list supplier or printer to do a postal cell analysis of that database of yours and start mailing to lists NOT JUST FROM HOT ZIPS BUT FROM YOUR HOT POSTAL CELLS (zip + 4) within those hot zips as demonstrated by listening patterns in your listener database.

Arbitron has been block coding their data since fall of 1994, but because of the sample size of Arbitron in most hot zips, using ARB diaries to try to locate the hottest postal cells within your hot zip areas takes four or more rating periods in diary markets and, perhaps, several years in PPM metros with their smaller sample sizes.

Your data base is probably five, ten, fifteen or more times larger than the entire ARB sample right now, making it a much more accurate source of this statistical information than tracking hot zips from one diary review.

In Canada, due to stricter privacy laws, there is only one way I know to gather this info: your own database of listeners who have given you permission to engage in a relationship with them.

Even better, these are ALL your listeners. So, since there is no waste, there is a very high likelihood that the folks who live in the same postal cells as the majority of the names and addresses in your data base are excellent prospects for conversion marketing.

Since they probably know that most of their neighbors are already listening to your station and since they share many of the same lifestyle patterns, they'll probably be quite responsive when you give them a solid reason to do so as well by mail or by phone.

A single zip code may contain 40,000 or more addresses. But, after studying the hottest postal cells (zip + 4) represented in your database, you may find that there are specific areas within such a zip code where a mailing of fewer than 10,000 homes could have the same (or better) impact as a full market mailer.

Postal cell information that you can develop now from your own in-house database will most likely still be more useful and accurate! So, what are you waiting for?

In one situation we know about this past Fall where the technique of carefully cloning a list of prospects for a direct mail campaign was born out of the hottest postal cells in the station's active listener data base, average quarter hours have soared.

This was accomplished with a mailing of only 100,000 homes located in key postal cells of the station within this metro area of nearly 4,000,000 people. More amazingly, the response rate of this direct mail piece (aside from affecting the station's ratings very positively) was 22%!

After mailing just 100,000 households, this station added 22,000 names to its database in only eight weeks.

Of course, now that they have increased the size of that original database, the next "postal cell analysis" they perform on their database for their next direct mail or telemarketing blitz will be even more accurate in pinpointing and targeting ONLY the areas where they have the very best prospects for building cume and TSL.

Facebook is nice. Email is good. Tweets are OK. But, until radio ratings companies stop placing their samples in homes, there’s no better use of your time than building, maintaining, studying and refining your strategies to find the geographic hot pockets where your heaviest users reside and work.

If you’ve been marketing radio for very long, you know this.

"Knowing" is not the same thing as DOING, is it?

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