It’s becoming more and more difficult to inspire audiences to take action. Listeners are increasingly distracted and there is more competition for limited attention. But beyond that, radio stations in general often fall short of promoting effectively or heavily enough for their message to be heard. This is both a quality issue and a quantity problem. How many promos do you need for a campaign to connect? More than you think. A lot more.
Two things have caused it.
First, programmers have trimmed the number of promos and length of promos. They’re concerned about programming to the generally accepted best practices claiming this is how to succeed with ratings services. For similar reasons, promotions have become less creative and more formulaic.
At the same time, resources are usually divided between multiple stations in a cluster. There’s not as much time to build creative campaigns rich with layers of messages that tell a story. This results in promotions and contests that come off as flat and uninspiring. Imagine taking on a promotion like The Last Contest today. It would be a big hit, but nobody has the staff to do it properly.
So most stations build a structure for promotions, then plug a contest into the formula and take their chances. It’s enough to get by, but fails to excite and delight the audience.
Then there’s the other, bigger issue. The messages just aren’t getting through to audiences like we this they are because people don’t listen as much or as closely as we assume.
There’s a thin line between too much hype and not cutting through to be heard. And there is a scientific way to determine how many promos are needed to make that promotion work. The trick, though, is to use science as a foundation, but execute with a healthy amount of art.