Taking a Bite from Apple: Learning from the Best

April 16, 2018

“Success leaves clues.” With that adage in mind, I leaned into a recent Fast Company article that proclaimed, “Apple forms the tightest emotional connections with customers of any brand in the world.”


It’s a bold statement, yet it’s readily believable and it stands in sharp contrast to the radio adage, “Find ’em. Fool ’em. Forget ’em.”

That’s bad dating advice, and it’s even worse when it’s a listener strategy and loyal fans are described as contest pigs.

On the other hand, Apple’s approach, “leaves clues” that radio can benefit from observing.

Apple Weaves Its Products Into Lives, Makes Itself Indispensable

According to the research by MBLM and Praxis Research Partners, Apple ranked number 1 in the study for “ritual,” which is the extent a brand is seen as being essential to users’ everyday existence. As one respondent said, “Apple brings me closer to everyone and allows me to be more productive and gets things done faster and easier.”

Insight for AM/FM: The relationship the audience has with their favorite personalities and station represents an invaluable emotional connection that provides listeners with companionship and access to the world during the solitude of drive time.

Being indispensable doesn’t mean you will remain there. What’s your strategy to retain and grow your P1s as you Surprise and Delight those who matter most to your ratings and revenue?

Apple Keeps Steve Jobs Alive

As Fast Company reports, “Apple products feel like they’re driven by a human vision, not by the cold calculations of some big corporation.”

Despite the fact he’s been gone since 2011, Steve Jobs still gives consumers an indelible link with a real, authentic person, and Tim Cook follows in those same footsteps.

“Historically Apple has made users feel that we are different or stood out from the crowd, we’re in it together.”

Insight for AM/FM: A human vision, not a cold calculation by a big corporation. Does technology allow stations to excel at being Live and Local or does automation simply generate more cost saving efficiencies?

This opportunity doesn’t rest exclusively with station employees. When an entire office is playing a contest and helping keep track of the clues and winning names, it feels like “we’re in it together.”

For example, when a national contest gets localized by inviting a winner into the studio to get their fifteen minutes of fame, as WEBN, the iconic rock station did here in Cincinnati last week, the brand comes to life.

Apple Starts With The Customer And Works Backward

People often connect with Apple products because they seem to be built with an understanding of what the user wants (sometimes even before the user does). Key functions are radically simplified on the device and they usually “just work.” “Its products delight, it engages, and it delivers,” the researchers said.

With this in mind, Apple isn’t interested in being first to market.

Microsoft had tablets on the market decades before Apple. Same with Blackberry and smartphones. As Tim Cook said, “It doesn’t bother us that we are second, third, fourth or fifth if we still have the best. We don’t feel embarrassed because it took us longer to get it right.”

Insight for AM/FM: Despite living in a world increasingly dominated by smartphones and digital technology, the audience continues to overwhelmingly seek us out by listening on traditional radios, especially during their commute and at-work.

In fact, while stations want their content to be conveniently accessible across platforms, whether it be on a smartphone or a smartspeaker like Alexa, the reality is that consumption of AM/FM stations on those devices is very limited and will continue to be.

As a result, absent a clear audience-centric strategy, simply streaming your on-air content on more and more platforms, primarily designed for on-demand/personalized consumption, might be counter productive and never add much in-metro listening.

Along the way, the incremental effort takes attention and resources away from on-air content. execution and audience development, which has a clear and proven monetization strategy.

Overall, while Apple creates emotional connections around the globe, AM/FM radio has a similar local relationship with our employed P1s who drive ratings and revenue.

The challenge is to maximize our core AM/FM business model, while thoughtfully and patiently planning for the future.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Doug Smith and everyone here at DMR/Interactive, thanks for working to drive radio forward.

Andrew Curran, President and COO


Strengthen and Defend the AM/FM Mothership

March 20, 2018

Just like your listeners, not all mobile users are created equal.

Mobile expectations are rapidly accelerating, while consumer loyalty and attention waiver. Reports indicate 80% of App users churn every 90 days.

It’s a daunting task to keep filling the funnel at a rate that outpaces attrition, especially when so many users don’t matter to your bottom line.

In a world of fake social media accounts and bot traffic, who are the users that actually matter to achieving your business objectives? How do you most efficiently replenish App downloads with the heavy users who will deliver the highest lifetime value?

90-95% of station revenue comes from on-air revenue. As a result, stations are increasingly using their digital assets to strengthen and defend the AM/FM mothership.

If a user downloads your App, but doesn’t have a job, it will be very difficult for them to consume enough audio to matter to your brand.

According to Matt Lawson, Director of Marketing at Google, don’t base your analytics strategy just on the existing measurement tools that you already have access to. Instead, start with your key outcomes and determine the best way to measure those goals.

Employment is the #1 driver of heavy radio listening. How is this metric being measured among users who are downloading your App and interacting with your online platforms? From a ratings standpoint, Nielsen is measuring employed listening. On the digital side, the measurement tools are the easy part. The bigger challenge is to identify the overall strategy that serves the mothership.

App That’s More Popular than Uber or AirBnB

Hilton Hotels and Resorts has a long history of innovation from offering the first television in rooms to being the first on-site airport hotel.

According to Geraldine Calpin, Hilton’s Chief Marketing Officer, “Having a history of being good at firsts doesn’t keep you there.” The goal is to be “constantly raising the bar, not bumping into it.”

Hilton wants their best customers to have frictionless travel moments. Since we live on our mobile devices, why should the experience at their hotels be any different?

From advance online check-in, where you can select the location of your room to using your phone to unlocking the door without first stopping at the front desk to pickup your key, the app has you covered. Not to mention the lowest rates available anywhere online.

Providing a frictionless travel experience was brought to life with the Stop Clicking Around marketing campaign.

The results include 90+% retention rate for their App (when the average retention is 20%). In addition, the App’s rating went from 1.5 stars to 4.7 stars.

In fact, it’s the No. 1-rated hospitality app in the Apple Store, ranking higher than any competitor, third-party booking site or anyone else in hospitality, including Uber.

The success is not just limited to their app. According to Christopher J. Nassetta, President & Chief Executive Officer of Hilton, during a recent earnings report, “We feel great about our set up for 2018 and our ability to continue delivering record-setting results.”

Infinite Choice is an Illusion

Despite more than 2 million Apps available for download, when it comes to actual usage, infinite choice is an illusion. 90% of sessions involve using three or fewer apps with Facebook, text messaging and Amazon being consistently ranked at the top.

In addition, heavy mobile users – the top 10% overall – tap and swipe their screens a remarkable 5,427 times per day and spend 3.75 hours on their screen.

Despite this significant amount of daily consumption, the average mobile session lasts less than two minutes.

How Does Your Brand Stand Out?

In a hectic, fast paced world, people seek out familiarity and brands they know and trust. Fortunately, not all listeners are created equal so you can be selective about who you recruit and engage.

Although infinite choice remains an illusion, the power of heavy users is real. The top 10% of mobile phone users consume 50% more screen time than average users. In a similar way, your heavy P1s dominate your listening with 2-3% of your cume generating 50% of your total quarter hours.

As a result, there’s a great opportunity to recruit and engage the employed, heavy users who have the most listening to give and will generate the biggest impact on your ratings and revenue.

This mothership strategy encourages investment in new digital and mobile platforms, while recognizing that our core listeners continue to overwhelmingly seek us out on the radio, especially during their commute and at work.

Therefore, while we make our content conveniently accessible across platforms and on our App, the primary role of these digital initiatives is to compliment and enhance our core on-air business.

DMR/Interactive’s 360° Listener Engagement Strategy brings the mothership strategy to life by incorporating station digital initiatives within an overall marketing strategy that generates Top Of Mind Awareness and occasions with those employed, heavy listeners who matter most to your ratings and revenue.

On behalf of Catherine Jung, Doug Smith and everyone here at DMR/Interactive, thanks for working to drive radio forward.

Andrew Curran, President and COO