Case in the point, we’re the only medium whose main focus of Marketing is “giving shit to people”. We’re like that sad little boy on the playground who gives away his lunch every day so that people will like him. We just reek of desperation.
The truly sad statistic is that we’re so effective that a minimal fraction of the audience will even play our stupid contests. Let’s just say for the sake of this exercise, maybe 7%.
If McDonalds had a menu item that was purchased by only 7% of the people who walked through the door, they’d probably pull it. And yet, we stagger blindly along finding new ways to dumb contesting down so that it’s innocuous wallpaper.
In 2013, stations are actually ecstatic when they get a local winner with national/group promotions.
The real value of and the real reason to do contesting? To make promos. Promos that are exciting and elevate the listening experience. Kiss in Poughkeepsie is one of about 18,000 stations that are sending listeners to the iHeart Music Festival and the marketing of the promotion is done through an unfolding saga-in-imaging by “Artie Shenkman” , a Las Vegas ticket agent whose business (run out of a van behind a Circle K) is getting clobbered by these bastards in the Hudson Valley who have the freaking audacity to by giving away all these tickets. To paraphrase Guido from ‘Risky Business’: “Never mess with a man’s livelihood in a sluggish economy”.
Great promotions play to the non-players. The people in their cars waiting to hear “Blurred Lines” for the nine millionth time. Which is why any version of “Beat The Bomb” kills. It’s like “Let’s Make A Deal”. There are winners and people who get zonked. And honestly, it’s more interesting to hear people lose.
“The Secret Sound” has been around since Marconi and has been done in thousands of variations but it works. Debby stuck in traffic on the 10 is barely paying attention as you roll The Ten Secret Superstars and perks up; that fourth voice sounds really familiar. Crap. It sounds like someone from a TV show…damn…now she’s going to tune in at 10:08:39 when you roll it again.
Trivia as done as a competition allows casual background listeners to play along AND choose sides. “Smarter Than Stacy” on KS-95 in Minneapolis is monstrous and has been borrowed by dozens of drive time shows. Why? Because it’s become THE benchmark for that show, ie: it works.
If I ran a newspaper ad in the Forest Lake Press and announced that I’d be awarding $10,000 at noon on Saturday in the parking lot of the VFW, it would be mayhem.
We announce the same thing and we get crickets. So invite in the 93% and make whatever you’re doing at least listenable and entertaining for the people who have to suffer through it.