Don’t Dis Satellite Radio

A No-Nonsense Marketing Smart Tip April 8, 2004

Buzzing around the industry are a series of spots aimed at tearing apart Satellite Radio and discouraging our listeners from making the switch. Don’t run them. Fundamentally, I believe, these spots will backfire and, in the long run, Satellite Radio will thank you for them.

“What is Radio so afraid of?”

Any listener with half a brain can put two and two together and come up with the conclusion that Radio stations running these spots are afraid of losing listeners and will say whatever is necessary to keep them.

These spots are reminiscent of negative political ads. And the politicians will tell you that attack ads work. For politicians. But that’s because one stuffed shirt is like any other to the average voter. Whereas chances are every listener knows somebody who knows somebody with Satellite Radio. And the word-of-mouth on Satellite is not at all what is being portrayed in these spots. The buzz will be that Radio is distorting the truth. Is it in our interest to look like liars?

“What is Satellite Radio?”

These anti-Satellite spots are the best favor Radio ever did for Satellite. Why? Because most people don’t know what Satellite Radio is, and these spots will intrigue them into finding out more. Negativity spurs controversy and interest. Consider a little movie called The Passion of the Christ. Or consider this: Which is more interesting, Rush Limbaugh on Republicans – or on Democrats?

Think back to your youth: That which is bad for you is always made more intriguing. From smoking to drugs to illegal downloading. And it’s especially true when the source of the negative information has a stake in how you read that information. Listeners will hear these spots and respond: Radio is afraid! I wonder what they’re so afraid of?

Forget Satellite’s alleged negatives, what about Radio’s verifiable positives?

There’s nothing worse than a poorly acted testimonial loaded with distortions, and these spots are full of them. Most listeners who consult a friend with Satellite (and technology products are always heavily influenced by word-of-mouth) will hear a different story: No commercials, lots of choice, well worth 10 bucks a month.

Radio is missing the boat altogether. Instead of investing our time ripping a new one for Satellite Radio we should be extolling our own considerable virtues, especially these: We’re your home town team, we’ve been your friend all your life, entertaining you, informing you, and keeping you company wherever you go. And best of all, we have all the stuff you like and we’re 100% free. Listeners will act according to what’s in it for them, not what’s in it for us. If we lie to them, if we try to sell them a bill of goods, they’re more likely to tilt their ears skyward.

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