Success in the New Year: What’s Old is New

I was recently eating lunch with a friend who wanted some thoughts on how to market/position a new product line that his company was offering.  The conversation was going well, when he said something unexpected, “this isn’t meant for my existing customers.”

As we began to discuss the likely objections that the new product line would encounter, my friend indicated that these were many of the same objections he faced and had overcome with the previous new product line, to which I responded, “Wouldn’t it be easier and more profitable for you to initially sell this latest product to existing clients who no longer have these objections?” He agreed.

His comment about existing customers reminded me of something we sometimes hear when talking with a new prospect. Stations understand that a small number of heavy radio users generate a disproportionate amount of the overall ratings. Yet, when asked to share their primary objective, some stations will simply say “more cume”.

As we continue the conversation, we’ll turn to their station database, where inevitably the same broadcaster will say, “I don’t need to spend any money on my existing database, I already have them.” What this assumption overlooks is that preference and loyalty can be fleeting, even for a team like Da Bears.

Calling All Superfans

In a recent MediaPost column, Chris Duskin uses the term superfans to describe this small group of passionate loyalists and says they are, “Your Brand’s Most Important Asset”. Not only are they important as PPM panelists and diary keepers, because they consume large amounts of your station, but according to Forrester, they are 3X more trustworthy than brands themselves and therefore are able to reach people who are unlikely to respond to your other marketing efforts.

Rather than taking these fans for granted, your best marketing efforts should start with them. However, all too often, instead of super serving this group with Surprise and Delight moments and Word of Mouth amplification opportunities, many stations rely solely on the station email newsletter to stay connected.

According to Duskin, here are four ways to interact with your superfans:

1. Be authentic –  just like you would with a friend. If you view the relationship as a gimmick, it won’t last.

2. Make them feel valued, build them up – Your station is their trusty sidekick or companion, not the other way around. As a sidekick, it is your job to make them look good. They are Batman and your station is Robin.

3. Listen to them – their network listens and follows their lead and so should you. After all, you are not trying to have a conversation with your entire cume, just the few who matter most. Best of all, we help you get to know your superfans by name.

4. Equip them –  sending a pre-alert concert email is not the same as truly super serving them. Let them know about what’s truly going on with the station. Working on a new vehicle wrap or t-shirt design, send it their way.

Want more insight into the value of superfans? While weekly print news magazines are going the way of the dinosaur, a recent New York Times article highlights the growth and revenue upside that exists for hobby magazines thanks to loyal subscribers (superfans).

Hobbies such as wine, cigars, gardening, and model railroads. According to Marvin Shanken, the owner of Wine Spectator and Cigar Aficionado, who upsells his best subscribers with website access, apps and events, “For people who have a passion, they have an endless appetite.” 

To learn more about how you can identify, engage and leverage your superfans to drive ratings and revenue in 2014, please contact Andrew Curran, COO at DMR/Interactive.

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