To Sell Long Term, Don't Use Short Term Data

The annual contract is the coveted achievement for the advertising sales person. Getting an annual contract from a customer signifies to some extent that the advertising sales person and the advertiser have reached a meeting of the minds on one of the most basic fundamentals of effective advertising, having a consistent plan and sticking with it for the long term.

But why is the annual contract such an elusive accomplishment? Even the most novice advertising sales people will tell you that advertising consistently is essential for success. Even most small business owners would intellectually agree that a long term strategy is the wise course of action.

Consistency is the First Key to Advertising Success, especially if the small business owner is on a very limited advertising budget. The smaller the budget, the greater the need to be consistent.
Most Radio sales people find it difficult to sell a long term contract because they insist on selling using short term data.
One of the first new words you learn in Radio sales is your station’s CUME audience. New sale people are so full of excitement for their new career they can’t wait to run out and start telling people what the CUME of their station is. They get to use a new technically sounding word. They get to talk like a trained professional.
Nielsen defines the CUME Audience as the total number of different persons who tune to a radio station during the course of a daypart for at least five minutes. CUME is based on the smallest unit of listening measurement possible, five minutes.
The quality of the selling process declines even more when the sales person tries to convince the small business owner that advertising with the station that has the largest CUME audience is the key to advertising success.
Citing your Radio station’s CUME audience in the sales process doesn’t give the small business owner any real information about the most compelling issue, how many people will actually hear the commercial during the advertising schedule. The small business owner wants to know what the REACH of their schedule will be.
Many Radio sales people can’t readily define CUME but every small business owner can define REACH. They do it all the time. How many people will get my direct mail piece? How many people will drive by my billboard? How many people will see my TV ad? How many people will hear my Radio commercial?
So selling with CUME introduces a new technical term that provides no significant information of consequence to the advertiser. It only adds to the jargon of Radio which ultimately confuses the prospect. Remember what Jack Trout and Al Ries say in their landmark book, Positioning, “a confused mind can’t make a decision.”
The REACH of an advertising schedule is dependent on the number of commercials in the schedule. CUME audience doesn’t translate into REACH for the small business owner without a schedule of commercials.
It’s very possible for a station with a large CUME audience to deliver very little REACH for the advertiser without a proper schedule. The inverse is true, a station with a smaller CUME but a good schedule could very well deliver better REACH for the advertiser.
So the first step to selling better long term contracts is to always demonstrate the REACH of your proposal. CUME is all about the station’s performance. But REACH is all about the performance of your proposal for the small business owner.
Second, always calculate the REACH of the entire schedule you are proposing. Using your ratings software, calculate the REACH of the schedule over the next 12 months. Make sure you use the ACCUMULATED REACH function and you will be amazed at how many people will hear the schedule you are proposing.
This is why Consistency is the First Key to Advertising Success. The REACH of your proposed schedule accumulates over time. It is something that is unique to the way consumers listen to the Radio. ACCUMULATED REACH can sometimes be higher than the station’s CUME audience because it is based on a long term audience estimate, not a five minute estimate.
When first introduced to the power of accumulated REACH, it is possible for a sales person or a manager to be skeptical of the numbers because they are so impressive. That’s exactly why CUME is the wrong selling tool to use.
Let’s say that your town has a sports arena that will hold 10,000 people. At any given basketball game, the maximum CUME of the arena is 10,000 people. But over the course of the season, there are some ticket holders who will see almost every single game. They are the P1s of the basketball team. Then there are people who are not season ticket holders but are big fans of the team and will come out to see a lot of the games. These are the basketball team’s P2 fans.  Then there are the people who will buy single game tickets whenever they can. They are the P3s. The combination of these different levels of fan interest in the ball team will generate a total season attendance of more than 10,000 different people. So the CUME of the arena is 10,000 people but the REACH of the season could very well be a much higher number.
So if you were selling a scoreboard banner at the arena, would you say that the CUME of the arena is 10,000 people or would you say that total attendance for the season is expected to be 25,000 people? Which sounds more compelling to you?
Consistency also helps build accumulated FREQUENCY. While accumulated FREQUENCY is a statistical certainty with a consistent schedule, it is the perceived FREQUENCY in the mind of the consumer that is all important. Over a period of time, the consumer will perceive they hear the advertising message many more times than they actually do. That’s Top of Mind Awareness.
We live in the world of instant gratification. Advertising has programmed our society to believe that if we want something, we deserve it right now. That’s why there is no payments, no interest for 12 months. A consumer can order virtually anything they want and have it within 24 hours.
When it comes to spending their hard earned money, a small business owner has an overwhelming need to see a cause and effect from their advertising efforts. These two phenomena are working hard against the advertising sales person trying to sell an annual contract.
You will do yourself and your prospect a world of good when you start demonstrating the power of your proposal by illustrating the long term benefits of the REACH and FREQUENCY of your plans and quit talking about your station’s CUME audience.

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