Sunday, November 29, 2009

Some "In The Box" Thinking

The best place for some of our Christmas decorations is back in that box in the basement that they’ve been stored in.

At our house, Christmas decorations generally fall into three categories: 1) those, new or old, that evoke memories, look good on display and compliment/enhance our home’s holiday feel, 2) those that evoke memories but have seen better days; too precious to throw away, they’re usually taken out, reminisced about, then returned to the box until next year, and 3) those that since last Christmas are now too dated, faded, or otherwise impaired and are, at last, ready for that final sleigh ride to the landfill.

Christmas music on the radio falls into similar categories: 1) songs, new or old, that listeners look forward to, that fit within the overall context of your station, and enhance the listening experience, 2) songs (or artists, styles, lyrics, production, etc.) that may at one time been an important part of the holiday programming but now simply ‘take up space,’ and 3) songs that no longer have relevance or make sense given the larger station picture.

Last year we conducted an online test of almost 300Christmas titles. Scores for songs in the top third averaged 23% higher than scores for songs in the middle third and 63% higher than song scores in the bottom third.

Any holiday songs or imaging or programming on your air that would honestly be better off in a box?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Of Politicians and Programmers

Smart programmers are like smart politicians.

This month’s gubernatorial election in New Jersey (insert joke here) saw incumbent Jon Corzine unseated by Republican Chris Christie. Some post-mortem election quotes and observations from the Newark Star Ledger included:

“Despite spending millions, Corzine’s inability to connect with the core was his downfall.”

“…Corzine was badly crippled by a failure to marshal forces including a failure to get out the vote in places…typically key” to victory.

“You just don’t get the vote out at election time and be successful. It has to be a year-round communication, a year-round interaction.”

“He was totally isolated... and surrounded himself by people who were totally isolated…”

Areas of Corzine support in the last election “…were turning away or worse – not turning out at all.”

Exit polls showed that the former Governor “…lost the confidence of too many voting groups his campaign had no expectation of losing.”

Ouch! Could any of this be said about our relationships with our listeners? Or are we more like…

Obama Campaign Manager David Poluffe, whose strategy memo cited as advantages having “the largest and most committed grassroots organization in the race,” an “enthusiasm gap” between Obama and other candidates, and a candidate who is “most clearly synched up with the electorate”

Karl Rove, whose strategy included a “careful identification of Bush voters and continuing contact” to increase the number of people who identified themselves as Republicans thus building a support base incrementally, and then firing that base up to take action.

Hillary Clinton who, when her husband was still considering his Presidential candidacy, felt it was extremely important that Bill be perceived as involved, not isolated from voters. "Bill and I have lived in an extraordinarily personal political environment," she said. "We love the opportunity to go out there and talk to people and listen to them. If a campaign does not teach the candidate, then how can people feel like they have any part of it?" As Matthew Saal wrote in 1993, “What Clinton had that was special was an ability to make a personal connection with voters.”

Business and executive consultant Peter Cicero sums his marketing/sales strategy this way: market to people by understanding who they are, sell them by knowing what they want.

Sounds like what succesful politicians and programmers do.

If you don't have something similar in place already, adopt a “political strategy” for 2010 that includes furthering your understanding of your prospects’ values, lifestyles, and tastes; connecting and communicating with them in evermore regular and meaningful ways; and empowering and mobilizing your base.

Yes we’re busy and no we don’t have a big (or any) research budget, but with 60-70% of most stations’ AQH coming from P1s, making connections with our constituents and leveraging in-house resources a priority will absolutely pay off.

If you need help developing your plan, just give a call.

It’s almost always much more fun to make a victory speech than a concession.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

One Video, Four Benefits

Doing good for others. Having fun. Getting noticed. Enhancing your brand.

One well-done video. Four big benefits.