Friday, September 14, 2007

PPM or Diary - It's Time to Charge Up The Audience

#5 in our series on the realities of PPM and the diary wraps up the week with an overview that applies to both data collection systems.

No matter which system you are facing there is one constant that stands out - Charge up your audience. To get them to pay attention to your station and either recall it in the diary or to tune in more with the trusty PPM attached to their belts, or in their purse, you have to motivate them.

While the little nuances of the music mix, contests, positioning, clock placement and all the other little rules we've applied to programming may be important you have to 'move the meter.' In a world with new media innovations popping up nearly every week radio still has the resources to win by a mile. No media is more convenient, omni present and universally used as radio. PPM shows it's reach is a lot wider and stronger than we had thought from decades of diary studies. In some cases it's triple when we look at PPM cume.

The audience also listens to more stations to more stations - around 50% more than we saw in diary data. The reality of these numbers is they don't listen to all these stations as much as the one on the top of their list which drives down the TSL. Imagine you grew up an only child, mom and dad had all the time just for you - move over to a family with 5 kids and obviously mon and dad can't be at every ball game.

The way to win in either environment is to charge up your audience. We need to start making an impact with them and just lining up the most obvious good testing songs over and over, hard drived with a few cute sweepers in between making unbelievable claims probably isn't going to do it. They can do that, without the cute sweepers, on an Ipod.

Charging up your personalities, creating a real community social network with your P1 and P2 audience, looking for music that's exciting, fresh and surprising to your target audience, and being completely plugged in with the lifestyle of your target audience are the keys to winning. It takes a plan, imagination, a big effort, and talent. It also takes people to make it happen, most of the assets mentioned here don't come from a keyboard and an Internet connection.

As you get rolling into the Fall book step back for a few minutes and take a look - have you charged up your audience? We are leaning a lot from PPM that is telling us what actually happens on the other side of the speakers, not just what the audience recalls in a diary world. It is showing us that some of the realities from the diaries we thought were true about the audience are false.

PPM is also showing us that the diary is missing a lot of what is going on with the listener. While those in the diary world will have to live with the shortfalls. The hassle of changing the sample every week in a world where the database we use for building the sample is shrinking quickly from cell phones and non-participation. The audience is also hassled by the diary, writing things down in today's world in a log seams like commuting in a horse and buggy.

In the end it comes back to THE PRODUCT. Be compelling, exciting and entertaining - charge it up and it doesn't matter if it's meters or diaries you are a lot more likely to WIN. Get out from behind the computer and tweaking selector and focus on what really charges up the audience.

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