This week’s post comes from Mike O’Connor, marketing guru at NuVoodoo:
The COVID-19 Outbreak has upended your listeners’ lifestyles and very likely their terrestrial radio listening along with it. As a service to our friends in the industry we love, we’re putting actionable intel into your hands as fast as possible, to help you stay on top of how your audience is using radio now:
A weeklong nationwide study, conducted at the end of March, 2020 with over 21,000 working-age listeners, already reflected extreme displacement as the virus was spreading inland from both coasts. Many listeners were no longer at their regular job and those still employed, but by then working from home, were more than double the segment still heading out to the job. All report spending significantly more time with radio that before the COVID-19 outbreak.
During this period of self-imposed home quarantine you should work hard to be your market’s “Work from Home Station” and sell the alternative ways of consuming your brand.
- Make your “work from home” positioning synonymous with Smart Speakers. They’re in the lives of six in ten 18-54-year-olds according to our January national study, and when we consider only those likely to participate in the radio ratings, those numbers jump to 70% of our sample.
- Your brand is one click away on your listener’s smartphone, computer or tablet, and that’s a big deal. More than half of all “PPM Yes” and “Diary Yes” types in our study reported having listened to a broadcast brand online or downloaded a station app within the past week when we asked in January. About a third of this ratings vulnerable group, who reported listening to AM/FM brands on the job during the workday, actually chose the streaming simulcast over the legacy AM/FM broadcast. The proportion choosing digital sources while working from home is likely to increase significantly now that employee life as we know it has changed.
The initial shock at the prospect of long-term home confinement will likely evolve to begrudging acceptance as reality sets in. Stations which engage the audience off-air and create listening occasions during the workday are the ones likely to emerge with shares intact.
Some radio companies have figured that the need arising from recent and unfortunate widespread economic devastation dovetails with what has always driven participation in the ratings. People need cash for bills, food, medical expenses and other unmet needs. Right now.
If you have the opportunity to get cash in the hands of the audience before the government can, know that you have an audience ready to participate. We can understand the fear of being tone-deaf, but packaged the right way, contesting not only generates TSL occasions but community goodwill.
A major market NuVoodoo client had been diligently following our traditional at-work playbook with a significant investment in workplace phone calls to support a cash contest. With most of their external marketing exhausted on that effort and COVID-19 rapidly spreading and profoundly changing work life in their market, the station quickly pivoted. They retooled their contest, giving away cash for bills, food, rent and many other sudden unmet needs. And we pivoted with them, ripping open our recession playbook and sharpening our targeting to make most cost-efficient use of their precious remaining promotional funds. The result? Instant growth in their daily AQH lifting them to 2nd overall in their market.
If you were in radio in 2008 and 2009, you remember that recession and the changes to our approach that needed to be made. The economic impact of what’s going on right now is going to be felt long after COVID-19 is in our rear-view mirror. It’s probably going to be the lens through which you’ll view all your promotions going forward, at least in the near term.
We update our COVID-19 data every day and it’s always free to you: https://nuvoodoo.com/covid-19-media-data/