Since our Techsurvey 2018 has begun to circulate around the industry, I've been involved in some fascinating conversations about the sheer size and “representativeness” of the sample. After all, when so many respondents participate in a survey – more than 64,000 – the numbers don't lie.
But because of the nature of the sample, they may – or may not – reflect what the greater population is doing and consuming. As we explain every time we present a Techsurvey deck, the lion's share of respondents are from radio station databases. And in recent years, more and more are taking the survey via links on station social media pages.
From my early days as a researcher, and then as a radio programmer, I've been a strong believer in “The 80:20 Rule,” originally coined Pareto's Principle. It states that 20% of a population (listeners, sales reps, baseball players) produce 80% of the results (ratings, sales, runs).
While it is important not to solely focus on your P1 listeners – at the expense of more casual users of your station – it's an even bigger mistake not to respect the huge contribution your biggest fans make to the greater good.
Jacobs Summit attendees will remember seeing Ben McConnell, co-author of “Creating Customer Evangelists,” at two of our conferences. In the more formative days of the Internet, online loyalty clubs, and creating powerful brand advocate groups. His strategies have a louder ring of relevance today as the digital world has become ubiquitous for marketers – and consumers.
For as long as I can remember, programming people have talked about tactics that can convert P2s into P1s – or dispassionate cumers into zealots. It's not impossible, but it is a lot more plausible to convert existing fans into evangelists. These consumers already like what they're hearing and what you're doing. What can you learn from them that provides the fuel to optimize and even heighten their value to your station?
That's what Techsurvey is all about. By providing hard data on format fans (and yes, they are created differently), as well as many of the core listeners who actually listen to your station, these web-based studies offer something unique to all the research conducted in and around the radio industry.
Yesterday, the respected radio futurologist, James Cridland, compared Techsurvey to some of the other reseearch tools available to programmers. Here was his take:
“Techsurvey is, therefore, a online-only survey of what I'd term radio super-fans. They don't just listen to hte radio; they love it so much they visit the radio station websites and are probably signed up to the radio station's VIP email club. If you're looking for any evidence of people falling out of love with the radio, you won't find it here; by definition, anyone who's done this survey thinks that radio is the super-best thing ever.
“This doesn't make Techsurvey useless. In fact, once you're aware of what it's actually measuring, it's very useful – because it's a survey of our best customers.”
You can read James' complete analysis here.
And here's another say to think about those super fans or uber P1s: they have more value today to radio than at any time before in the history of marketing. That's because they now have turbocharged tool kits – social media, product ratings, and online communities – with which they can tout a favorite station or DJs. They have power, they must be heard, and they can make (or break) a brand, a product, or a service.
Unlike “the old days,” when they passively filled out listening diaries and occasionally showed up at your events, today they are your movers and shakers, empowered by the technology in their hands and on their screens. There's never been a better time to be a great radio brand. Your uber fans will buy and wear your merch, drink your station's beer, turn out for your concerts and festivals, and – most importantly – evangelize on your behalf.
If you understand how they think, you can successfully tap into their passion. Let's take a step beyond radio.
At the recent upfront presentations, Turner unveiled a new branding campaign – “We make fans.” Covering TBS and TNT, this new effort is focused on core fans, not casual viewers. Here's how their CMO, Molly Battin, frames it:
“We take an inside-out approach. We said we are going to put the fan first in everything we do. (We want to) really think through how we create the best experiences no matter what platform it is on.”
But the key point is Turner's new mantra:
Fans are more powerful than viewers.
That's your “80:20” mindset right there. Interestingly, ESPN is now moving in the same direction, focusing on fans – and beyond that, looking at the direct-to-consumer relationship.
Their new president, Jimmy Pitaro, says the heritage sports network is entering a brand new era, focuing on “innovation, quality storytelling and programming, audience expansion, and direct-to-consumer.”
And that manifests itself in a new premium app – ESPN+. According to Pitaro, its target is “die-hard, passionate, hardcore sports fans,” along with “the sports fan that has felt somehwat underserved by what is on linear television because his or her favorite team or favorite sport is not being covered.”
You may recall we profiled the Twitch platform a few months ago in this space, where a familiar name – Bubba the Love Sponge – is turning his energies toward a direct-to-consumer, non-broadcast approach that is laser focused on his most fanatical fans. Their the ones who will pay to subscribe to Twitch programming, purchase merch, and evangelize about the former radio star.
Twitch is built on the super fan, the evangelist, the zealot. And make no mistake about it – it is owned by Amazon who has a deep understanding about how to nurture and grow these types of relationships.
Because these platforms – from Twitch to ESPN to your radio station – are now digitally charged, the value of your core fans has never been greater.
With Techsurvey 2018, we're happy to offer you the road map that shows you what they're all about. Whether you're programming a country station in Elmira, a rock station in Edmonton, or a news/talk station in East Lansing, these 64,000+ respondents will tell you exactly what they're looking for.
On Thursday, we're presenting a free webinar – “The 10 Things We Learned From Techsurvey 2018.” Info and registration is here.
It's time to meet your super fans.
Thanks to Wade Pressel for the great artwork.
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.