Staying relevant is more essential than ever. If you know it or if you don’t, we have entered the era where the consumer, at almost all levels, is participating in the process of gaining access to a more pure form of control. And it’s coming to radio. This process has made its way through a variety of industries, crushing business models and shape-shifting the way businesses engage consumers and how consumers choose the brands they spend time and money with today.
As a result of the reshaping of power toward consumers, you should always be looking at how you engage listeners (and advertisers) to protect your revenue. You should work to stay on top of and consider the trends that can make you more successful (and help you avoid disaster that often comes when consumer control takes place). Here are some trends you might want to review and consider as part of your evolving business model as we approach 2013.
1. The Need For Consumer (Listener) Control. We have talked about this subject in this column before. Listeners are consumers of your product. They are going to gain more access to choices and easy-to-decide control over their ever-splintering attention. If you truly want to continue to capture a large audience (and revenue) with your radio station, you must step up ways you psychologically allow them to choose your product. You must make it easy for the choice to stay the same: You. You have to understand that your control will be turned over to them at some point and your product has to be ready to be THE choice even then. You have to build top-flight content and engage in loyalty programs that give you an even more clear and defendable position and build true loyalty. That means much more than having a database. You must really connect with the important listeners in your market who influence others for your brand (or against your brand).
2. Mirroring listeners’ desire, engagement, validation. Facebook is a mirror that allows consumers to get lost seeking validation of who they are and where they belong. Most radio stations don’t seek a two-way communication engagement that validates the listener and brings them closer to the “radio station loyalty factor” that will help stations continue to dominate the market as digital changes the level of choice listeners have for audio in the car, at work, and home. If you’re smart, you can play a part in growing your brand by being the station in town that validates them the most based upon what they are interested in, how they engage, and by having a real relationship with them in social media.
3. Local Sales Blogger. Hey, it is essentially 2013 and someone on your sales team should have a blog focused on helping small business with advertising, marketing, and growth opportunities to increase their business on a regular basis. That “someone” can become known for telling the story of how advertisers can achieve higher consumer participation this year than last. Advertisers like that kind of help and it can help draw them into your revenue stream simply by being the most helpful and credible rep to them.
4. Storytelling. It’s been important since before Abraham Lincoln and it isn’t going to change. What story does your morning show tell about why listeners should choose them? How fast and easy to understand is the story your salespeople tell to clients and prospective clients about why they are in a unique position to help them be more successful in 2013? He (or she) with the best story wins. Make sure you have the best stories in 2013. It’s that important.
Embrace change and the use common sense and creativity that God gave you to be in radio to begin with. Change can be powerful. This is especially true if you adjust with it like the tree that bends in the wind. That tree doesn’t break. However, trees that refuse to bend often do break. Staying current on trends and figuring out which trend works for you is just smart business. As the disruptive technology that is invading the world at the consumer level continues, staying “in the now” is incredibly important. Radio can evolve with the change if we become open-minded about what is coming.
*Content originally appeared @ RadioInk.com. For more content on radio, go to RadioInk.com. Look for my column on social media and radio on the left-hand side of the homepage behind my picture and the word “Engagement.”
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