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Listen Up!

February 2, 2017

Patriots or Falcons fan? Democrat or Republican? 18-34 or 25-54? With each of these, we quickly form a mental image of the person who falls into one of these categories. And that’s OK – up to a point. We need ways to make sense of our world, and broad categories help us start the process of communicating with the group we are trying to reach.

So it is with radio, too. Is this person a P1? Is he exclusive? Does she listen to CHR or Country? Each time we learn something new about a listener, we can hone in just a little closer to the message that will capture that listener’s undivided attention.

As a totally audio medium, radio’s ultimate goal has always been to reach the listener effectively. And it’s something we truly cannot take for granted. That’s why it’s so important to dig deeper, to go beyond the surface explanation of a Female 25-54 who is P1 with station WXYZ’s AC format.

Sure, we can make some broad assumptions now that we have this information. According to a Nielsen Audio report (Radio Today 2013, How America Listens to Radio), the AC format “boasts high-income, highly educated (mostly female) listeners and they remain strong in the midday daypart, reinforcing their reputations as “at-work” strongholds.”

So far, so good, right? With that broad brush stroke, we can assume the listeners are women who have money to spend on products and services, they are probably listening at work (reinforcing that high-dollar factor), and they are highly educated so we can appeal to their intelligence.

You may think you know your audience, but how can you be so sure? At this point, if we’re being honest with ourselves, the things we don’t know about this listener far outweigh the things we do know. For example, does this listener have children? If so, then what age? Obviously, the needs and desires of a young mom who’s still knee-deep in diapers will be vastly different from the empty nester who is looking for the next adventure in life now that the chickadees have flown the coop.

In a nutshell, just as audiences listen to the radio, in turn, we must listen to them. We must get to know them beyond just a quick cursory glance. Only with detailed qualitative data can we understand who they are, what they want, what they need and how we can provide those needs/wants. Qualitative data allows us to learn so much more about our listeners, providing us with the details of where they live, what they buy, what they drive, what restaurants they enjoy, and so much more.

Of course, we understand all this, but it’s always good to remind ourselves to listen, really listen, to our listeners. When we know the details about them, then – and only then – can we craft messages that inspire, that motivate, that bring about action, that sell.

So, listen up! At Research Director, Inc., we’re ready to provide you with the tools to learn more about your listeners. Whether they are Patriots fans or are partial to the Falcons, we can help you reach your audience and enhance your bottom line. So, could you pass the queso and chips, please?

-Barbara Krebs, Quality Assurance

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