Many people believe that the goal in marketing is to convince listeners that you have a better product or service than your direct competitor. This isn’t always the real objective depending on your exact circumstances. If your station has a small market share, going up against a better financed, more established direct competitor, you most likely will be in trouble from the start.
The best action to take in this case is to find a category within your format that you can be first, that has a listener benefit in and you can become known for. You will win sooner by being a great, first in category, station in your format. It is better to be first than to be better! As outlined in the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Ries & Trout, it is much easier to get listeners to absorb or believe that you are first in a listener beneficial component than to get them to believe that you are better than the station that was there first. It’s called The Law of Leadership.
To demonstrate the Law Of Leadership, here are two questions:
- Who was the first person to fly the Atlantic Ocean solo? Answer: Charles
- Who was the second person to fly the Atlantic Ocean solo? Answer: Bert Hinkler.
By the way, Bert was actually a better pilot than Lindbergh; he flew the Atlantic faster on less fuel! But who has ever heard of Bert Hinkler? Many times radio stations don’t see the lesson to be learned from this law of leadership.
Whatever format or niche you choose, make it the first in the market. Being first doesn’t guarantee success, particularly if it doesn’t line up with a need in your target life-group. When you do find a need in the market, make sure you give it a “brand name”. Example: Not many people ask for a box of “Scott” tissues, they will ask for a box of Kleenex instead. Don’t be the second or third format in the market and try to win with a better product; it most likely will not win in the short or long term.
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 and consultant with Wright Media 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.