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6 Reasons Your Station Should Do Perceptual Research

Perceptual research is survey-based research designed to build your brand and position it in a crowded marketplace. It’s strategic in nature, unlike the strictly tactical nature of music research (knowing the right songs to play is great, but if your formula is off-base or the brand is misaligned, don’t expect that listeners will pay attention).

Today, perceptual research for radio brands is more important than ever because the challenges for audience attention have never been greater.

Here are 6 brief reasons why your radio station should do perceptual research:

1. Perceptual research increases ratings

Some major radio groups have actually run ROI on the aggregated outcomes of their perceptual research, and the results are simple: On average, investments in perceptual research are matched to increases in Nielsen ratings.

2. Perceptual research can sometimes increase ratings by a lot

I recently conducted a project for a client in a major market. They were ranked in the teens in demo. After implementing the results of the research they rocketed to the top 5 in demo. That is a wholesale transformation of their business, and the research allowed them to reduce risk to an absolute minimum while plotting the best possible strategic course.

3. The investment is trivial compared to the likely revenue gains

Imagine the value of increasing your audience by even a fraction of a share point. What’s that worth to you at the bottom line? Now subtract the cost of any perceptual research and it’s still an overwhelming win.

4. You benefit from the research of others

Every time I walk into a presentation I bring the accumulated wisdom of every other project I have ever done. While the details of those projects are confidential, the lessons are often usefully transplanted from one situation to the next. And in my case the lessons come from not just a base of radio broadcasters but also TV, digital, pure-play, and non-radio players like Apple.

5. Perceptual research creates unmatched strategic focus

When you take your key staff away from the “fires” of day-to-day and escape into a strategic meeting, you can ask and answer big questions about the brand that, oftentimes, the competition is too busy to answer. That element of focus simply doesn’t happen in an environment lacking in perceptual research – folks just don’t do it.

6. Perceptual research is an unfiltered connection to the desires of your audience

Nielsen can’t tell you what your audience wants, it can only tell you how they’re reacting to what you do in real time. And even then with a notoriously sketchy degree of accuracy and consistency. In any typical perceptual research study, the sample of listeners to your station is much greater than what Nielsen offers at that same time. Meanwhile the questions are much deeper and the insights are much greater. All for a tiny fraction of the price you’re paying for the weekly, monthly, or quarterly frustrations of Nielsen.

Think about all that as you consider how to best spend your dollars for the future of your radio brand. And if you’re in the market for a perceptual research study, feel free to reach out to me.

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