A while ago I wrote about a radio station in our market that had tossed out all the DJs in favor of pre-recorded audio clips. I speculated that this station (Jack FM) wouldn’t be around long. My reasoning was that people prefer to do business with other people, not recordings.
Big picture, my reasoning is correct. For most products and services, we prefer dealing with people. We like to know there’s a real, live human being there, not just bits and bytes.
In this case though, I was wrong. Really, really wrong. Jack FM is alive and well all over the USA and seems to be doing just fine. In fact, he’s doing so well, he’s rather sassy about it.
A common line on Jack FM is, “playing what we want”. The implied, but unspoken part might be “and we don’t care what you want to listen to.” (Picture a DJ sticking his tongue out and sayin “nyah, nyah, nyah.”)
This flies in the face of most marketing. Most marketing messages we see are just the opposite. Typically, we try to convince the customer we will do what they want. In fact, too much marketing goes overboard in their quest to deliver this message.
But very few marketers brag about how they focus on doing what THEY want. So, why does Jack FM do this? Better yet, why does it work for them?
I think it works for four reasons.
1. They’re different.
Radio is a competitive industry but surprisingly bland. Within the market segments, one station pretty much sounds like the next. The only differentiator is the real people who populate drive time or other time slots.
Jack FM stands out by doing completely the opposite. They’ve demonstrated they’re not like the other guys. They don’t pander to their audience. They don’t take calls. They don’t play requests. They don’t even have live people on the air. That’s different!
2. They’re saving money.
Their expenses are lower so they’re return is higher. Or, they’re able to reallocate those expenses elsewhere, like lower advertising rates, maybe? Or they live on smaller ad revenue so they run fewer commercials and therefore they can play more music.
A lot of people will switch just because there are fewer commercials. So, this makes the “no live DJ” strategy viable.
3. They deliver what their customers want
Maybe the people at Jack FM actually play what their listeners want to hear. Maybe they did their research and they figured out what their target audience really wants to hear. So they play. They just don’t tell them.
4. They don’t pitch and pander.
I think people are tired of hearing insincere corporate slogans that claim to offer them what they want. People don’t believe most advertising. They’ve been trained to not believe it because it’s rarely backed up by credible action.
It’s refreshing to hear a company that’s not constantly telling you how great they are and how much they do for you. Maybe people are just fed up with the sales pitches and empty slogans. So, the Jack FM message gets their attention because it’s credible, it’s believable.
In the end, Jack FM is DOING what their customers want rather than telling them about it. I think that’s the magic in their strategy.
So, the big lessons here are these:
1. Stand out from the crowd
2. Deliver a believable message
3. Do what your customers want
Do these three things and you’ll find you’ll have more customers knocking on your door. And more of them will stick around because you’ll be dleivering more of what they want. That’s what I call Smart Marketing!