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How not to sell HD radio

From Radio Ink:

A new research study conducted by Mark Kassof & Co. reveals that 5% of 18-64-year-olds think they are receiving HD Radio from at least one of the FM stations they listen to, but have not actually purchased an HD-capable radio. Among these listeners who say they are receiving HD but haven’t purchased an HD radio, 46% say it is “about the same” as regular FM radio, while 12% of them characterize HD as “a lot better” than regular FM. Kassof & Co. President Mark Kassof observes that “stations contribute to confusion when they say they are ‘broadcasting in HD’ without offering an explanation of what HD provides and what is required to receive it. As a result, some listeners wrongly think they are receiving HD.”

Let me simplify this once again.

Trial, not awareness, is what’s key here (assuming, of course, that trial results in a sufficiently differentiated and satisfactory experience).

We are obsessed with awareness and our promotion of it, and it will be the undoing of HD radio.

I submit that we are throwing away thousands of cumulative hours of on-air promotion. When this promotion does not result in comprehension of what HD radio is or sales of HD radio units (because the strategy itself is wrong-headed, not because there’s anything necessarily wrong with HD radio), then what does this say about the value of promotion on the radio?

There’s no question that radio works for advertisers. But when our self-promotion fails, what message are we sending to our clients?

To date many stations are running at least two promos an hour for HD.

Here is the sales ranking for the best-known HD radio from over the past three weeks:


Now obviously isn’t the only place to get the radio. But it is a ubiquitous source, easily accessible to all. The peak sales rank for this radio in the category of consumer electronics is 3518. The low rank is 8017. And the sales trend over the past three weeks is down.

Yesterday I checked the rank of this radio in the narrower category of “radios,” and it wasn’t in the top 100.

When a strategy isn’t working, isn’t it time to re-evaluate the strategy?

Within the next two weeks we’ll post a version of the presentation delivered to the NAB yesterday which includes an alternative approach to the promotion of HD radio. One that will be tougher, more expensive, and vastly more effective.

Stay tuned.

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