Friday, June 12, 2015

Taking a Bite out of a Market Leader: What a Sandwich Chain Can Teach Us

Taking a bite out of a market leader
Shifts in listener and consumer loyalty happen all the time but they always seem newsworthy when “suddenly” a top performer is dethroned.

In reality, many of these abrupt declines may have actually been months, years, or even decades in the making. 

Some of these are the end result of one or more competitors' long and persistent “creep” against a leader, or a leader being too static for too long in a changing marketplace ('slow to react' was one of the points in a recent Washington Post article on Subway that inspired this blog).

Format and market leading stations must continually negotiate the tripwires that can give toe holds or growth opportunities to competitors.

  • Commoditization stemming from a growing lack of differentiation in the listener’s POV; that is, listeners don't perceive a sufficient number of particularly unique and important-to-them benefits gained by listening to your station vs. a competitor
  • Listeners believe the "listening cost" of your station exceeds its value
  • Failure to accurately assess a challenger’s strength or appeal in a timely manner
  • A delayed response or inability to adequately respond to "Values Drift;" listener values/standards have evolved but the leader has remained static 
  • Time pressures have severely limited creative and/or forward thinking
  • The status quo remains status quo for too long;  new services, features, products, or offerings are minimal, or there’s a lack of excitement about initiatives that are launched
  • Lack of employee passion for the station, format, listeners or even self
  • Eroding relationships with listeners for any of the above reasons

These are rarely intentional over-sights. I haven't walked into a station recently and found GMs, OMs and PDs looking for ways to keep busy. Finding time to just think is a challenge.

Still, in the spirit of ipsa scientia potestas est ("knowledge itself is power"), consider regularly scheduling a meeting of station creatives to talk through these (and other) bullets, share listener Intel, and have a "what if..." discussion.

Do it over a sandwich if you like.

1 comment:

lbaklc said...

Non-radio guy here but one who struggles with many of the same issues in his work--the church. When we're at our best in my world, we don't think of other congregations as "competitors." Even so the need to stay fresh, relevant, and creative is apparent. Maintaining the tried-and-true, fundamental functions of doing church well is not enough to keep even the hardcore faithful fully engaged. Those at lesser commitment levels are to prone to wander not necessarily to a new church, but to gradually increasing inactivity. Thank you for the encouragement to make and take time to think creatively. It's easier but costly not to.