Moneyball: How the Economy Impacts Your Fall Promotion Plans

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The fall book starts on September 12 – less than ten weeks away. Already thin station promotional budgets will be stretched even tighter against media rates inflated by the election. As we’re grinding through data from 3,188 respondents ages to 64 nationwide in NuVoodoo Ratings Prospects Study 24, we noted a finding that could have a definite impact on promotional plans.

It might be intuitive, but we felt it’s worth underscoring that consumers are trying to cut back. Better than three in five of our respondents reported that they’re cutting back on dining out, attending events, and vacations. The numbers get even higher among Gen X and the youngest five years of the Baby Boomers.

It’s intuitive to note that, the lower the household income (labeled HHI in the chart below), the more likely people are to be trying to cut back on activities. Except for those in households with incomes of $200,000 and above, at least 60% are trying to spend less.

As if those numbers aren’t striking enough, we see that even more of the folks who are most likely to give radio its report card – likely ratings respondents (labeled “RPS” in the chart below) – are looking for ways to cut back. All but 17% of the youngest likely ratings participants in our sample, “RPS: Gen Z” in the chart below, are cutting back. Across the entire sample of likely ratings respondents, nearly 3 in 4 are looking for cuts.

Listeners are looking for ways to spend less on dining, entertainment, and vacations. The station that’s helping them do that is doing a real service for its listeners and its community. It’s a matter of looking for ways to provide cut-rate fun. And no group of music radio constituents is immune. Contemporary Christian listeners (labeled “CCM” in the chart below) are most likely to admit they’re looking for ways to cut back, but it’s a majority of even CHR/Hot AC listeners, and around two-thirds or more in many formats.

Your solution could be a weeknight takeover of a local casual dining spot where your listeners would get a discounted dinner for their family while station talent make the evening memorable. It could be free or low-priced concerts with tribute bands or emerging acts in in your format. It could be a calendar of low-priced things to do with your family every weekend this fall. Your market and your stations’ relationships will help shape the best solutions for your specific case.

Best of all, each one of these possibilities brings with it the opportunity to build a first-party data relationship (1P) with listeners. Collecting that contact information, earning permission to communicate with them, and maintaining a steady stream of welcomed information is key to radio’s future. Gathering enough of those relationships unlocks the ability to use the data to build look-alike audiences that go beyond your database and tap into people in your market to have lots in common – including a likelihood of being the type of people who would enjoy your station. In 2024, it’s becoming more about 1P – First Party relationships – and less about P1.