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Hot Topics

Qualitative – More Important Than Ever Before

May 30, 2019

I have a 0.4 rating.
So does my competitor.
So do four other radio stations.

Clearly all six of the radio stations are equal – or at least on the ranker. So how does the overworked media buyer/advertiser decide which station to select? The easy answer is the one who comes in the cheapest or delivers the most “extra value.” Competing on price or adding a boatload of ineffective and costly added value is not the answer.

So what does the advertiser really want? They want to move their product or service. To do that, their advertising message needs to reach likely customers, not just bodies. Cheap advertising does not matter if it reaches the wrong consumers. That is where qualitative research can be the differentiator.

There are a tremendous number of options when it comes to qualitative research. While each may collect their data differently, and differ in what they report, they all share a similar goal – segmenting an advertising outlet by more than just gender and age.

Qualitative research can segment a medium’s audience by:

  • Socioeconomic status
  • Family status
  • Lifestyle
  • Product ownership
  • Buying habits
  • Planning to purchase habits
  • Consumption of other media
  • Many others

So instead of dropping rate or adding free extras, document that your listeners are the right target for that particular advertiser. Many advertisers and even some media buyers are willing to pay more for the right consumers, rather than getting the wrong consumers cheaply.

The biggest roadblock to this strategy is time and education. Advertisers don’t always understand qualitative research. However, if you can get the advertiser to focus on the idea that concentrating on qualitative will result in better media buys and therefore a more effective advertising campaign, then you can get them to listen and focus. This teaching moment can also help you evolve from another sales rep to a media consultant.

Using qualitative research with the media buyer is more difficult. They will tell you that they don’t have the time to consider other sources besides Nielsen. However, the truth is that they are often paid a bonus on making a cheap buy … not a good buy. In this case, you need to find a time when you can get their attention and get them to focus on doing what is best for the client. That way they keep their clients. If that doesn’t work … go straight to the client. The advertising agency is spending their money. Do they want cheap, or do they want effective?

Stay tuned for future Hot Topics where we’ll discuss which demo is best for qualitative research and when to use cume rating vs. cume composition. To learn more about qualitative research, contact me at csislen@ResearchDirectorInc.com or 410-956-0363.

-Charlie Sislen, Partner