We ask listeners for it.
We ask them to join our “loyal” listener club – and in too many cases we actually call it that.
But that isn’t how loyalty works.
Your dog isn’t loyal because you ask her for loyalty. She’s not loyal because you enter her into a contest where she has a one-in-a-thousand chance of a doggie treat. Yes, she’ll jump through hoops for you, but she doesn’t do it because you demand loyalty. She does it because she loves you.
Loyalty, in other words, is earned. It’s not solicited. And it diminishes the concept of loyalty to imagine you can bribe listeners into being loyal.
Loyalty is a two-way street. To get it you have to give it.
And giving loyalty means delivering what listeners want the way they want it.
It means uncluttering the airwaves. It means placing the needs of the audience ahead of the needs of the sales department under the assumption that growing the audience will grow sales, while selling out the audience will shrink it and, in the long run, sink sales.
It means opening a dialogue with listeners, not delivering a monologue. Email “blasts” are monologue. But communities are about dialogue – feedback and communication in all directions.
Loyalty is about growing a tribe of fans for your station. Not about commanding submission.
You can learn a lot about marketing from your dog.