Audience research can be an expensive investment. While the amount of research has been substantially cut based on business conditions, the need for understanding what the audience wants and thinks is exceptionally important.
In a perfect world, stations would work hard at getting close to their consumers. The perfect world of the past included at least one strategic market study per year to determine the “images” of the target station. This study would allow the station to determine its “SWOT” matrix. The entire direction of a stations marketing, programming, and promotional focus would come from this study. You would find music studies or group music tests where listeners would give their impressions of the library titles. These would happen two or three times per year for stations that had a significant library component. Add to that information, weekly “call out” music testing which would closely track the audience’s view of newer songs on a regular basis.
Success would go to the programming team which best understood and implemented the research.
Guess what. It still works that way today.
The frustration at not having the funds to understand the audience is almost universal in media today. There is an underdeveloped source of data that rests at the fingertips. Social media building captures two vital sources of information to help you guide your property. It grabs the “rabid fans”–the ones who will contribute the most to your success. The “P1” component. It also encourages those same fans to recruit other individuals into your “tribe.”
Social media is NOT and will not work well as advertising. Think of it more like audience research. The difference is the continuing “free” investment in building your audience relationship. The time needed to build the relationship and remain part of the conversation is extensive and important.