Last week we showed percentages of P1 constituencies from major music formats responding to whether their station had surprised them pleasantly with a song or something other than a song in the past week. Overall, music radio stations are about half again more likely to have delighted listeners with a song than with something other than a song in the past week.
How often do we manage to pleasantly surprise listeners with a song? On average about 80% are touched within a month, but less than a quarter feel that way within the last day. Arguably, we should be trying to aim for these surprises more often. It’s not an easy play, since one person’s “Oh-wow!” may be another’s “Oh-@#$%!” But, being the station that provides those sorts of experiences for listeners is a great way to build brand loyalty.
Looking at the comparable numbers for pleasantly surprising listeners with something other than a song shows that, on average, music radio pleasantly surprises only 14% of its listeners with something other than a song on a typical day. In some adult formats the number is below 8%. Are these missed opportunities?
Within the non-music elements on a station we’re going to talk about what differentiates our station from the competition. We’re going to talk about upcoming station contests, appearances and promotions. Why can’t these things we have to do become pleasant surprises – delights – for listeners? With people stretched thin it’s easy to succumb to writing promos and liners and other imaging the way we’ve always done it. But, by doing so, we miss opportunities to bond with listeners – to surprise and delight them.
What’s important to them? What are their aspirations? What do they strive to do daily in their lives? What makes them happy? What attitudes are resonant among your most important listeners? It’s easy to learn definitively just by asking them – in your station’s research or even a quick poll posted on the station’s website.
If you found out, for example, that feeling attractive is important for much of your target audience, wouldn’t you pander to that in station promotions? If you found out that they wish they had more time to devote to keeping fit, wouldn’t that suggest ideas? If you found that they worry about how they’re going to pay for their kids’ college, couldn’t that unlock some promotional concepts? If you learned that a majority would admit to looking (guiltily) at their smartphones while driving, you could adopt a number of tactics. What things do they love – or hate? What things about your local market make them feel great – or annoyed?
Give yourself the latitude to explore things that seem personal. Do they sing out loud with the station when no one can hear them? Are they secretly envious of people who have the nerve to do karaoke? Do they ever dance around when listening to music when no one’s around? Do they wish they had more time or more opportunities to do these things?
As you increase the depth of what you know about your listeners, your palette of attitudes and ideas to reflect becomes bigger and richer, meaning that you have more ways to touch more of your audience in a given day…increasing the likelihood that you can pleasantly surprise them every day. After all, most people come to the radio hoping to enhance their mood; to pass the time pleasantly. These pleasant surprises baked into the station could become addictive.