Whether you're in radio in Lansing, Lubbock, or Los Angeles, the ratings are your yardstick. And it doesn't much matter if you're measured by diaries or meters, those numbers are the currency that determine sales success, salaries, and survival.
And as the years have gone by, it's notable that whether your success is measured by recalled listening on paper or passively via encoded signals, the midday daypart is often the linchpin that determines whether you're having a good book (weekly/monthly/quarterly) – or not.
The Nielsen folks will tell you the same thing. One of the constants as their ratings methodology has evolved over the years has been the importance of at-work listening. It's very big in the diary methodology where drawing a line down the page can bring hours of at-work credit to stations that emphasize this key listening location. And we've learned over the last decade of metered measurement these midday hours are also of paramount importance in the PPM world.
And now, a humming economy and the lowest unemployment rate in years punctuate the radio axiom that the workplace rules. As more consumers hold down full-time work, the odds they'll access audio while on the job rises.
So when I happened across a general interest marketing article in AdWeek last month by Raquel Hudson: “Brands Are Missing Out On An Important Daypart,” it caught my interest.
Hudson defines “The Working Daypart” not in specific hours, but the time periods when people are actually doing their jobs. Especially in an office setting, that's when they do online product research and shop online, and even run out at lunch to do some shopping.
As she points out, “The Working Daypart has become a key component in the consumer journey and yet many brands are not taking full advantage of the opportunity to reach this audience so close to the moment of consideration and/or purchase.”
We've long recommended our rock-formatted client focus on the at-work opportunity – the genesis of all those “Workforce Payroll” promotions that dotted the radio landscape back in the '90s and '00s.
More and more, workers multitask – do their jobs but also take care of personal business. And that means planning vacations, doing research and shopping for cars, going to the bank or managing financial accounts online, and even comparing and pricing mobile phone carriers, plans, and deals. This attaches even more value to the at-work audience.
Here's a look at an Office Pulse study from 2017, showing the key times in which consumers shop for cars.
Hudson's article and the data points she highlights reinforce the value of at-work radio listening – not just in Nielsen reports but as a powerful sales tool.
Because the fact is, radio has to be the most-consumed entertainment medium during these hours. And when workers have that radio on in the office, the warehouse, the nail salon, or the construction site, their computers and mobile devices are in their hands for research, price comparison, and purchasing.
Radio sales pitches often focus on the car – and for good reason. It's a key listening location – a site where you can't watch TV, read a newspaper, or check email. At least, not yet.
But the workplace is a marketing hot spot where the nearly 96% of Americans who are employed do their business – often on company time.
That may not be great news for employers trying to maximize worker productivity, including radio station managers. But the flip side is that a respected publication like AdAge is aiming their laser pointer right on the midday, at-work daypart. Why wouldn't advertisers want to expose and market their product during these hours when so many workers are researching, shopping, and spending?
And is there a medium that truly owns these hours more than AM/FM radio? Certainly, television, print, streaming music services, and satellite radio cannot surpass broadcast radio's hold on working stiffs in every corner of this country.
Sounds like a good business plan.
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,200 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.
Fred was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2018.