Even before PPM (Personal People Meters) started rolling out across the country, I never had “enough” money to be able to go into a market, buy the top 5 radio stations, strong-arm the stations into really cheap rates, and call it a day (I’ve only heard of national buyers doing this, by the way, could be a myth, but the stories been told consistently).
I had to look at market rankers and analyze the top stations, the middle stations, and the bottom stations and figure out a blend of high rating and low rating points stations in order to be able to create a breadth in the marketplace instead of blowing all my money on one expensive station. What’s benefit of using the lower and middle ranked stations against your demo? Added value. These stations knew they wouldn’t have made the plan if a national buyer was making the decisions and are happy to oblige with giving you every facet of added value they can think of. The higher ranked stations were so costly to even buy them because they knew they had a premium audience and high ratings … there was no way they’d throw in a lot of added value because it would through their ratio of spend to free stuff off.
But now! PPM has flat-lined rating points across all stations! The difference between the top station and the middle station rank may only be 0.2 rating points! What does this mean for planners/buyers like me who still have the same kind of clients as before? Added value from everybody!
Yes, the actual buy is still important. Cost per Point, Gross Rating Points, Reach and Frequency. BUT, getting sweepstakes/promotions gets more exposure, getting online impressions makes it more trackable, and being at radio station events allows for more interaction with consumers and the brand. Sometimes there are tiny hard costs that go along with these, but reps have the ability to throw in more spots at no cost to compensate for the dollars being allocated elsewhere.
All of these components I negotiated before the rise of PPMs, but now, with the relationships I’ve forged in the marketplace and the flexibility I have with my buys, I can do more things for my clients and make the overall buy achieve higher gross impressions, reach, and frequency than I have been able to do before.
And I love that.