Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Maybe I’m Missing Something (Or, Are YOU?)…

I just heard from a GM of a dominant cluster whose multi-format non-duplicated cume reach in this large market is as close to 100% of the area’s total population as you can get.

All of their radio stations have been nurturing email databases since the late 1980's/early 1990’s when they were faxing to businesses from an at-work database, built with direct mail and telemarketing.

They've done it all, over the years.

Now, in an effort to jump-start a “daily discounts” revenue program in hopes of competing with Groupon, Living Social and others locally, they are buying a mass email list that reportedly contains every email address in their metro.

This list is several times the total metro population.

Unless the initial contact with this huge list is extremely well-designed it’s going to be seen as just more spam by the vast majority of the folks who receive this invitation to sign up for a second or third daily deals email on top of the ones they already find in their spam folder.

Assuming that each of this company’s stations has 20% of their cume in their email and at home/at work address (perhaps even txt databases) and they’ve been consistently maintaining those relationships both on air and in regular direct relationship/loyalty marketing over time, they have an active relationship with some one-fifth of the area’s population.

These folks (hopefully!) know their brands, their personalities and welcome the communication when they receive it. 

’t it make more sense, albeit to a smaller group of people, to offer deals and discounts to our friends rather than just adding to the volume of spam that anyone else who buys those same total market email lists are sending out too?

Won't our radio stations get measurably better response rates from our "fans" than the competing deals programs will?

If the need to buy that big email list comes from a dollars-driven desire to quickly get up to speed because the station’s databases have been lying fallow and unresponsive or, even worse are next-to-nonexistant and are only a small, single-digit percentage of the total unduplicated cume of the cluster, maybe the marketing managers of these radio stations have been missing something that can't be fixed by buying a list, no matter how well-targeted.

If, by now, you don't already have an active, responsive database which can't be quickly cloned by someone else, you are suffering from a widespread mass media disease: a lack of engagement, no carefully-constructed reputation among your listeners for compelling content and attention to much more that just trying to hawk the radio station’s latest attempt at making money from them without first adding true value that builds true affinity.

Increasing the volume of spam in your city, attaching your brand name to it, without tending to content-based relationship and loyalty marketing first probably can make you a few bucks in the short term, but you better have another scam to sell next year and the year after that, because your radio station brand will mean less and less each time you do it.

1 comment:

Jim Kerr said...

First of all, kudos to the station for recognizing that a Daily Deals program relies on email. Groupon, Living Social--all of the programs--are spending all of their efforts to do one thing: build their email databases.

The question then is: Why are Groupon and Living Social and the other programs not doing what that station is doing? The answer is exactly what you state above: These kinds of programs RELY on reach and a large database, but they REQUIRE relevance and and the kind of relationship with the consumer that they want to receive the emails.

The good news is that most people want to save money, and they recognize that the daily deal phenomenon can and will benefit them. The bad news is that they are proliferating so much that consumers are now doing what you warn about: Tagging unwanted deals as spam.

Radio is in a fantastic position and SHOULD be a formidable competitor here: They have what the other programs are dying for--large databases of roughly targeted consumers. And not just consumers--engaged consumers. When the email comes in, the spam detector bar is relaxed a bit. Beyond that, radio has a sales force that can make that call with a local company from a position of familiarity. That's powerful, too.

There are a lot more things that go into a successful daily deals program (and Triton would be happy to help you navigate these waters at no cost), but the essence is that radio is in the kind of place where they should be able to have blow out success without buying external email lists.

And if you don't have a strong email database? Well, you have the power to change that quickly. Radio's been doing just that for many years.

Radio has a lot of weapons that go unused. Daily Deals is one that relies on a lot of them. Calling up the foreign legion is unnecessary when you have plenty of troops and dry powder back at the fort.

Jim Kerr
VP/Business Strategy
Triton Digital