September 8, 2010

Always In Ratings

Is it all about the numbers?

During my twenty-two years in radio, I did everything from sweep the floor to having the unique privilege of heading the launch of two radio stations from scratch.

No one does that alone, it took fantastic teams of people, many of those people are still working on those radio stations ensuring they remain great.

8th caller through wins the tickets.

If you listen to terrestrial radio, you may have noticed something different in the last week or two. There are bags of cash, brand new cars, trips and various other fabulous prizes. For most North American stations, ratings began yesterday so most ramped up their big contests leading up to it. For Canada, it's BBM and in the U.S., it's Arbitron.

So everyone is doing their best to get your attention. In larger markets, they do this four times a year and base their listenership numbers on a tiny percentage of people who actually get an actual book - or diary.

Monitor this.

In some of the major markets, portable people meters are now in place but that still represents a tiny portion of each market who are asked to carry around a device for one to two years and allow their listening habits be monitored.

You see television stations step it up during sweeps. Execs parade their fall line-up to all the major advertisers each year - those are called up fronts. It's a chance to secure revenue but rates are set on promised ratings levels so the race is on. And if you're not a Nielson family, your opinion is irreverent.

This weekend only!

Business to consumer industries have their version of ratings known as sales. And business to business has it's version as well, offering suppliers certain discounts and deals throughout the year.

There is a national furniture chain in Canada that has a sale every weekend. The tent gets bigger, the deals get more unbelievable and they often give out free hot dogs and balloons for the kids.

The absolute lowest price.

It is becoming a trend that every major car manufacturer has a red tag employee pricing annual clearance blowout in September. Does anyone feel the urgency to buy a car in April?

When I built and programmed radio stations, I kept my eye on the product. Now I work with clients on business and marketing strategy and implementation and the focus remains on the product. Without that, all the contests in the world won't help you.

So whether you are B2C, B2B, a broadcaster, an advertiser or a private business owner aren't you always in ratings?

Let's create experiences not campaigns.

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image credit: istock
© Kneale Mann people + priority = profit
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