Friday, October 04, 2013

Marketing To Grow Loyalty

Loyalty marketing (social, data base, telemarketing and target campaigns) should also be a cornerstone of any country broadcaster's long-term plan. 

There is, however, another tool that is so inexpensive and easy to do that many stations overlook it as a good barometer of problems that might require more extensive quantitative research and/or marketing:  ask your listeners! 

Set up a panel of your active listeners, and meet with them on a regular basis.  We recommend airing an ongoing campaign of an nouncements on your air to inform listeners of the existence of your "Listener Advisory Board." 

Set up a link on your website for people to "sign up." 

Send a weekly station newsletter to the entire data base.  Do online research, set up a "get a clue" voice mail line for listener complaints/suggestions, and con stantly invite opinions on station programming on it.  Air listener-voiced comments and/or read their letters in regular promos to let people know you really do pay attention to their gripes and compliments.

Choose listeners at random from the panel to meet for a light dinner (restaurant or hotel trade) monthly with station staff and/or independent research people.  AOB will be happy to perform this function for you if a qualified moderator cannot be found at a local college or university marketing research department.  Keep us informed on problems and results if you choose to conduct the panels in-house.

Keep the groups small - less than 15 persons.  Use the panels to test potential marketing campaigns, TV commer cials, contests, morning show ideas, special programming, poten tially objectionable commercials, new music trends, etc. 

Recognize that you are NOT doing research, since the participants are aware of the station that is asking the questions.  However, since the bias in groups like this is to normally be quite com plimentary, when negatives come out they must be taken very seriously.

Actually, it has been our experience that country fans feel a sense of ownership of "their" radio station, and as a result when they are convinced that honesty will be taken seriously and result in changes on the air, they can be brutally frank and protective about the airwaves of their favorite station.

And, isn't that the way to make them feel involved and loyal to keep 'em listening longer? 

Besides, what competitor can take away your listeners when they feel like they all sit on your "Board of Directors"?

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