Qualitative – Is there a right approach?

(By Marc Greenspan) The previous column talked about moving from demographic segmentation to qualitative segmentation. This is a more effective method of focusing on the advertiser’s most likely consumers. It’s also a tool that can help stations with a larger portion of their audience outside of the 25-54 demographic.

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

Qualitative target people
Qualitative target people represent the number of different people your station reaches who fall into a particular category. For example: “22,500 of our listeners plan to buy a vehicle next year.” This estimate tends to be most effective for larger cuming stations in the market. The target people are your REACH.

An advertiser’s message cannot be tracked if it is not heard. In this case, the bigger the better. You can say to an advertiser, “Due to the sheer 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 as an index, which compares your percentage to the market average. Examples: “25% (or 1 in 4) of our listeners plan to buy a vehicle next year” and “Our listeners are 30% more likely than the market average to plan to buy a vehicle next year next. “

When pitching advertisers, you can talk about how good your station’s targeting is and how well it can effectively engage the advertiser’s potential customers. In this case, the more concentrated, the better.

Hybrid approach
In my opinion, the hybrid approach is often the best. If you’re only using target people, the best cume stations will usually be at the top of a leaderboard. If you focus only on composition (% of target), stations with very small audiences will often rise to the top. This can include stations that are unfamiliar to even the most experienced local buyer.

The hybrid approach allows the seller (and the advertiser) to examine the composition of only the competing stations in the market. For example, in a large market, select the best stations (say the top 20) and rank them according to their composition. In a smaller market, use a lower threshold, perhaps the top 10.

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

Whatever tactic you decide on – target people, composition or a hybrid – be prepared to properly explain your choice and why it’s in the advertiser’s best interest.

This essay is part of a series called “Growing the Radio Pie”. To view past articles, visit The Ratings Experts at Research Director, Inc. online here.

Marc Greenspan is President and Founding Partner of Research Director, Inc. He can be reached at 410-295-6619 x11 or [email protected].

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