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We’re Boring the Audience

A No-Nonsense Marketing Smart Tip January 7, 2004


Rick Torcasso is a smart man. Chatting with him the other day, Rick, head of Point to Point Direct Marketing reminded me of one of the main reasons why so many stations fail to break through in their marketing and programming efforts: They’re designed and executed to be dull.

Is it Interesting?

We can talk about images we win and lose all day, but this is some kind of abstract laboratory, not the real world of the audience. Sustainable advantages are not built strictly on what images listeners say are important and what station owns each. In our zeal to measure what matters and who owns it, we often forget to consider the most important question of all: Is it INTERESTING?

This is the problem, for example, with the venerable “Variety” position. Everyone says it’s important. Lots of stations wish to own it, maybe some even do. But is it interesting? Is it even interesting to YOU? Not likely.

We Are the Listener

It aggravates me when we speak of listeners like they’re this homogeneous mass of knucklehead automatons who will drink in everything we say and be moved to alter their listening behaviors by it. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Listeners are people like you and me. If your marketing tactics wouldn’t cause YOU to change your radio behaviors, then why would we expect these same tactics to work magic on the audience? When you say “jump” they don’t say “how high,” they say “why?”

Entertaining is Interesting

If your station’s competitive advantage is a big yawn, then marketing that big yawn to the audience will be met with a predictable shrug of the communal shoulders. Bland should be banned.

How do you make your marketing (and, of course, your station) interesting? You need to look beyond the bland and excel at what’s ENTERTAINING. We are, for once and for all, in the entertainment business, not the Radio business. Examples: A unique music thread is an ENTERTAINING advantage. So is a funny morning show. Maybe it’s a lunchtime specialty show which gets the audience buzzing. Chances are, it’s not “variety.” Nor is it “continuous music” or “lite favorites” or any one of a hundred Radio buzzwords which are, ironically, all words, no buzz.

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