About Loyalty


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.

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  • we used to get loyalty from the kids in the street to our radio station. so much so they would refuse to tell anyone over 25 years of age in a suit the location of the station in case they were in the area to shut us down, there’s some things money can’t buy. But if the 40 something suit is a potential advertiser we never met them and they never found us 🙂

  • Since you are against “Listener Loyalty Clubs”, what is a better solution for showing clients the power of radio or offering specific discounts to listeners?
    I love Loyalty and Frequent Listener Clubs. In addition to capturing demographic information you can also push listeners to retailers and the business owner can quantify where the customer came from. It’s a win-win for the station, the listener and the business owner. What’s not to like?

  • I am not against loyal listener clubs. At all. Quite the contrary. Is that really what you got out of the post?
    I am against the lazy presumption of loyalty on the part of stations who don’t deserve it and haven’t earned it. Your discounts are all well and good, but not the reason why I listen to you.
    I am also against demanding “loyalty” the way you would demand subservience from a slave.
    You have completely misunderstood the point, I’m afraid.

  • Can’t Buy Me Love?

    Apparently the Beatles had it right all the way back in 1964. (That’s right, baby boomers, it’s been forty-seven years since Can’t Buy Me Love was released.) Money can’t buy me love. Mark Ramsey writes about radio programming and strategy

  • Mike,
    Great post. Your comments apply to any business. You can buy my presence, but you can’t buy my loyalty.
    I’ve posted a link to your comments on our small business blog.
    Mike Buckley
    Mine Your Own Business

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