How Talk Radio Can Attract Millennials (4/4): Review

In this concluding post in my series on how talk radio can attract Millennials, I’m going to go over some stuff that came into my head that I didn’t tackle in the previous posts.

Some of these items are related to what I wrote previously, while others haven’t been fully addressed yet.

We’ll chiefly be talking about the product, the demographic, and influencer endorsements.

The Product

As I stated in the post on The Campaign, I’m just the marketing guy.

I have no real expertise on the subject of radio and am not remotely qualified to produce an actual show.

That said, I can make some intuitive suggestions that might be helpful to the distinguished radio executives who might want some input.

In the post on The Campaign, we talked about our imaginary program, The Mark Dogero Show.

I would suggest that the show use intro music that appeals to the demographic. But this in and of itself means almost nothing, as our particular demographic is known for its eclecticism. (See here for a full explanation.)

However, the obstacle is once again the way!

To appeal to our target demographic’s variety of preferences, simply recruit local independent bands to play a new intro song before every show.

There is no shortage of such bands who crave such publicity, and in keeping with our eclectic style, we could even tailor whatever song we pick to the main theme of each episode of the show.

The Demographic

In the post on The Campaign, we defined our target demographic thusly:

“For the purposes of this scenario, let’s say our target demographic is college-educated Seattle-area 18-34 year-olds with a Christian background who lean libertarian and who are most concerned about social issues such as poverty, homelessness, and abortion.”

However, I don’t think this is specific enough.

It focuses heavily on the demographic’s view of key issues, but it doesn’t add enough flavor to it. Most people aren’t totally consumed with the political process, and therefore don’t define themselves by their political affiliation.

The solution is to add in something to this mix that will make all the difference.

Enter gamers.

According to a 2015 report from the Entertainment Software Association, 61 percent of gamers identify as conservative.

The report also said that 61 percent of gamers aged 18-34 are in favor of budget cuts. 42 percent are in favor of school choice and 40 percent support the use of military force in foreign policy.

Therefore, the logical step would be to rewrite our target demographic as college-educated Seattle-area 18-34 year-old gamers with a Christian background who lean libertarian who are most concerned about social issues such as poverty, homelessness, and abortion.

Everybody needs a hobby.

Influencer Endorsements

In the post on The Campaign, I mentioned that it might be tricky recruiting “influencers” who have a hold on our target demographic to be on the show because of its political nature.

My solution was to invite potentially hostile guests to be on the show and then have “Mark Dogero” use it as an opportunity to show off his policy smarts.

While this could be done occasionally, I have since rethought this strategy.

Since our target demographic leans libertarian and conservative anyway, especially when we factor in “the gamer vote,” I believe it would be more prudent to simply invite a wide variety of libertarian or conservative guests.

We don’t want to identify them as “Republican.” Rather, we would simply bill these guests as ideologues who stand for conservative or libertarian principles, totally separate from any particular political institution.

The idea here is to appeal to the sense among this demographic that Republicans are bad, conservatives are suspect, and libertarians are trustworthy.

If we use the correct labels as bait, we can hook them on the substantive philosophy and discourse that lies behind the curtain. Remember, Millennials want to be on the side of the good guys.

A warning: We must also be careful not to alienate the hardcore conservatives in our target demographic’s ranks, who may be more numerous than we suspect.

Thankfully, we can use targeted ads to turn this wrinkle into an advantage. Gotta love those things.

Thus ends the series on how talk radio can attract Millennials. I dearly hope that some wise programming executive happens to read all this and say, “What a great idea! I should hire Levi Sweeney as a marketing consultant!”

Hope springs eternal.

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How Talk Radio Can Attract Millennials (3/4): The Campaign

Last time we talked about The Problem that talk radio faces today.

Now for the fun part: The Campaign.

After locating suitable on-air talent, a Seattle talk radio station would have to tailor the show to the preferences of Millennials and then market the heck out of it using The Seven Touches Method.

Let’s say that you’re a producer at a Seattle talk radio station. You’ve managed to find some hot on-air talent.

He’s a young, energetic, smart kid with a great radio voice, a keen grasp on the issues, and strong writing skills.

You’re all set to put him on the air, but then you realize that you need to build some buzz for this new show first. (Let’s call it The Mark Dogero Show.)

Enter me, a marketing consultant you hired to help with this task. After sitting down and talking with you and the talent, I present you with a seven-touch marketing plan.

The seven-touch marketing plan is a tried-and-true method of marketing which is even more pertinent in the social media age.

The saying goes that your audience needs to hear about your product (The Mark Dogero Show) at least seven times before they’ll buy it, or in this case, tune in to the show or listen to the podcast.

Before you do anything, be sure that the show itself will appeal to your target demographic. Up to this point we’ve been saying that we want to reach “Millennials,” but we have to get more specific.

For the purposes of this scenario, let’s say our target demographic is college-educated Seattle-area 18-34 year-olds with a Christian background who lean libertarian and who are most concerned about social issues such as poverty, homelessness, and abortion.

As for the show itself, I’m no expert on radio (that’s your job, Mr. Radio Producer), but my experience tells me that the key to appealing to Millennials is to take the moral high ground.

If you can convince this particular target demographic that your viewpoint is morally superior to that of the opposition, then you’ve got them hooked. Millennials want to on the side of the good guys.

Be sure to back up the style of morality with the substance of facts and figures. Millennials (I’d like to think) aren’t complete idiots.

Now, on to The Campaign.

The first of your Seven Touches is a face-to-face encounter. Send Mark on a speaking tour of every college campus in the Greater Seattle Area.

Have him speak to (the admittedly small-numbered) every on-campus chapter of the College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation, free of charge.

Identify other groups, large and small, of like-minded persons, such as local conservative and libertarian Facebook groups, and promote speaking engagements to them as well.

Use targeted ads on Facebook to spread the word to people matching the target demographic to attract more people to these meetings.

The ads should use buzzwords like “justice” and “equity” and “economic empowerment,” which when applied to a libertarian idea, will attract Millennials from left, right, and center.

For example, you could run an ad on a lecture series on rent control, the minimum wage, and zoning regulations.

Titled, “The Injustice of Progressivism”, your ad would have copy saying: “Learn How Regressive Laws are Hurting the Most Vulnerable and Keeping Our City Poor.”

So people come to the speaking events, and word gets around about Mark’s new show on the radio, which you’ll emphasize is available on SoundCloud and via your radio station’s app.

People will sign up at the meetings and events for subscriptions to Mark’s blog, follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and get email updates from your station!

These email updates are the second touch. They will include Mark’s written thoughts in addition to the show and video clips from the show itself.

These will keep you stuck in the mind of your audience, even if they ignore most of Mark’s emails.

That’s where the third touch comes in: social media updates. Mark will be most active on social media platforms where the target demographic is most active, namely Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Since the target demographic is very attuned to video, updates on these channels should include short video clips of Mark speaking about trending issues and topics, taking questions from the audience, and interacting with relevant guests.

Speaking of guests, that brings us to touch number four: Influencer endorsement! That is, have someone on the show whom Millennials trust and promote clips of their appearance on social media.

This one was a little tricky to figure out when planning this post, as most influencers who resonate with our target demographic tend to lean left or else do not have much to say about the issues that The Mark Dogero Show would care to discuss.

What I mean to say is that most public figures whom Millennials pay attention to are Hollywood actors, musicians and bloggers, along with the occasional politician.

The obstacle, as so eloquently popularized by Ryan Holiday, is in fact the way forward.

In addition to inviting recognized conservative or libertarian figures of note, also invite persons of the opposite inclination to be on the show.

When Mark is talking to an influencer whom he agrees with, very good.

But when he’s talking to an influencer whom he may oppose on policy issues, it will give him an opportunity to show how “fair” and “tolerant” he is by having such guests on his show and hearing them out.

A focus on local personalities and figures would be best. Remember, your audience lives in Seattle!

Touch number five would be to distribute free or low-cost pamphlets or eBooks written by Mark to your followers that can be easily shared with friends.

Readers should be able to recommend Mark’s books enthusiastically, so they’d better be good!

Touch number six would be to promote the eBooks and pamphlets on Facebook and Twitter through targeted ads. You’ve gotta love those things!

Combined with the word-of-mouth generated by their being a great product, those pamphlets will spread Mark’s philosophy in written form my leaps and bounds!

The final of the seven touches is an email invite to an event hosted by the radio station, featuring this Mark Dogero guy that everyone’s been talking about.

An example of such an event would be a debate or a lecture. Since it’s an event being put on by the radio show, it could be broadcast over the airwaves.

It could also be live-streamed on Facebook, recorded and posted to YouTube, and, of course, put on SoundCloud!

But remember, the key here isn’t quantity of platforms. It’s better to focus on where your target demographic is hanging out. Promote the event ahead of time using targeted ads, calling on people to tune in on the radio or online.

Use the opportunity this opportunity from people signing up to attend the debate or lecture to build your email list for further marketing efforts.

Also use it as an opportunity to upsell other shows put on by the station, not to mention those eBooks and pamphlets.

If this strategy has been properly executed, The Mark Dogero Show will be a knockout, and advertisers will be clamoring to get behind it.

These seven touches can overlap a little. Some of them can be expanded to make a total of nine or ten touches. In today’s wonderful wired info-saturated world, some marketing gurus have suggested that as many as thirteen touches may be necessary.

But the principle remains that with a good product, followed by a disciplined marketing strategy such as the one detailed here, a large following of Millennials can be attracted to our imaginary talk radio show.

So, Mr. Radio Producer, what’s next?

We’ll talk about a few miscellaneous details that we haven’t covered yet in the fourth and final installment of this series: Review.

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