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Qualitative – Is There a Right Approach?

Qualitative – Is There a Right Approach?

The previous column talked about evolving from demographic segmentation to qualitative segmentation. It’s a more effective method to zero in on the advertiser’s most likely consumers. It’s also a tool that can help stations with larger portions of their audience outside the 25-54 demographic group.

What is the best way to position your station using qualitative data? There are two basic qualitative estimates: target persons and composition. Which one should you use? There’s no right answer to this question, and it often depends on your station’s position in the market.

Qualitative Target Persons
Qualitative Target Persons represents how many different people your station reaches that fall into a particular category. For example: “22,500 of our listeners are planning to buy a vehicle in the next year.” This estimate tends to be most effective for the big cuming stations in the market. Target Persons is your REACH.

An advertiser’s message can’t be acted upon if it’s not heard. In this case, bigger is better. You can say to an advertiser: “Because of the tremendous size of our audience, I can assure you that a large portion of your target consumers will hear your message.”

Qualitative Composition (% of Target)
Qualitative composition is the portion of your station’s audience that falls into a particular qualitative category. It can be expressed as a percentage or an index, which compares your percentage to the market average. Examples: “25% (or 1 out of 4) of our listeners plan to buy a vehicle in the next year” and “Our listeners are 30% more likely than the market average to be planning to purchase a vehicle in the next year.”

When pitching advertisers, you can talk about how well your station is targeted and how it can deliver the advertiser’s potential customers efficiently. In this case, more focused is better.

Hybrid Approach
In my opinion, the hybrid approach is often the best. If you use just target persons, the top cuming stations will usually be at the top of a ranker. If you focus on just composition (% of target), often stations with very small audiences will rise to the top. This may include stations that are unfamiliar even to the most experienced local buyer.

The hybrid approach allows the seller (and advertiser) to look at the composition of only the competitive stations in the market. For example, in a large market, select the top stations (let’s say top 20) and rank them on composition. In a smaller market, use a lower cut-off, maybe top 10.

In this case, you are illustrating which of the major stations is most focused on reaching the advertiser’s potential customers.

No matter which tactic you decide – target persons, composition, or hybrid – be ready to properly explain your choice and why it’s in the advertiser’s best interest.