As long as out-of-control gas and food prices are forcing radio listeners in the “money demo” to tap into their savings to pay the bills, radio can help with inflation-related contesting and promotions. That's a reminder from strategic marketing broadcast consultancy DMR/Interactive in its latest “The End Result” newsletter.
“As prices continue to rise, consumers are left to make difficult choices in an effort to reduce their grocery bill,” DMR/Interactive President and COO Andrew Curran says, pointing to findings from a Forbes survey showing two in three Americans, primarily adults aged 26-41, are eating into savings to get by. “With kids in many of these households, along with daily commutes as well as rising rent and home prices, this group – radio's bread and butter, middle and upper income earners – is being squeezed.”
Neither the end of the $300-per-month child tax credit in 2021, nor the looming end of the student loan payment suspension at the end of August, are helping matters. As a result of all the above, families have already spent $114 billion of their pandemic savings, according to a Wall Street Journal report cited by DMR. “Student loan payments will arrive about the same time credit card bills are due following the back-to-school bonanza of clothes, shoes and school supplies that's just around the corner, further depleting the savings of your audience,” Curran says.
The good news for radio targeting these consumers is, it can, and has, come to the rescue with cash and other giveaways, promotions with advertisers and more. “It's a summer unlike any other, and local radio continues to serve listeners and advertisers alike with more chances to win, in the midst of so much family budget pressure,” Curran says. “$1,000 is a game changer for local families, especially now. In addition, inviting your listeners to think about all the ways they would spend that money while they're stuck at work or sitting in traffic is theater of the mind at its best.”
DMR's newsletter suggests additional ways stations can position themselves as anti-inflationary, such as remembering to celebrate all winners of cash, gift cards, tickets or whatever. “That's money that stays in the pocket of your listeners,” Curran says. “Total up the weekly value of prizes and showcase your winners by name and neighborhood. If you're about to hit a milestone for the year such as giving away $50,000 in local prizes, take credit for your connection to the community and also let them know what's coming up next.”
Likewise, radio can partner with advertisers to help listeners get a much-needed break from dipping into their wallets or pocketbooks. “What can you do to give your audience exclusive benefits from your best advertisers?” Curran asks. “Perhaps a free back-to-school lunch combo, or with your audience full of commuters, many of whom are looking to extend the life of their car – how about a free oil change or tire rotation?”
One more idea from DMR/Interactive and Curran: connecting your station to the online banking experience by suggesting listeners use the frequency, station nickname and call letters as their password. “[It's] theater of the mind that generates ongoing top-of-mind awareness each time they log in without spending a dime.”