Whenever you engage a new format launch, or before rebuilding an under-performing one, there are five important architectural steps that help ensure success:
Defining your target is a joint understanding between programming and sales, to be sure the strategy meets the business plan. If you cannot agree on a target-rich environment, the strategy is probably wrong. The rules of targeting are complex and non-linear. Even though we’re programmers, the business plan is the mother of all strategy.
Defining your position is really a misnomer. It’s true that your position is defined by the station for its listeners. But “positioning” is a passive noun, not an active verb. No matter what you’ve heard and how often you’ve heard it, we really can’t “position ourselves” but instead focus on a brand message that exploits listeners’ positive predispositions about your format and your personalities. In short, you can impact your position, but in reality your position is a place, and your listeners put you there. For a good read on this process, try Selling The Invisible (Harry Beckwith) or Ries and Trout’s classic, Positioning.
Defining your programming, and aligning it to the largest uncontested target through advantageous differentiation is the nuclear core of winning programming wars. If you have the advantage of valuable perceptual research, your planning will be more accurate and the time-line between launch and results made shorter. We often articulate this for managers expressed in business terms: good perceptual research should be seen as a “capital investment” as opposed to a “current cost.”
Defining your goals is crucial: you can’t win if you don’t know where the battleground is. Failure is certain for stations that haven’t accurately assessed their goal-array and articulated them. Everything must be focused on what you can win.
Defining weaponry is a simple, realistic discussion of the tools of marketing warfare that are available to you, and how to best use them. It’s based on reality; what you actually have to work with, instead of what you wish you possess.
Brian is a 30 year radio veteran who has successfully served many companies over the years as Program Director, Operations Manger and VP of programming. After many years of success working for individual radio stations and clusters, Brian Joined one of the most trusted consulting firms in the country, Audience Development Group. For the last 15 years Wright has enjoyed building alliances with scores of stations in the US & Canada helping them grow in ratings and revenue. Contact Brian at [email protected]