Radio Lessons From The Real World – Starbucks
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Radio Lessons From The Real World – Starbucks

Size doesn’t matter.

It’s a model the coffee giant has used with great success in creating a comfortable, non-salesy environment in their stores.

When you walk into a Starbucks and order your tall, non-fat, no whip, double shot, Cinnamon dolce latte; the smiling cashier never gives you a hard time for not ordering a Grande. They don’t berate you for not upgrading to a Venti. Upsizing you is simply not part of the model.

What they do is far more powerful. The strategy is not to have you order a larger beverage; but rather to entice you to come back later that day with a discount coupon for your afternoon caffeine fix.

Can radio do the same? We spend so much time encouraging our announcers to drive listeners to the next break, to get another 15 minutes of tuning, to creatively hook them so they discover the pay off. – But are we missing a big opportunity?

In the 70s and 80s this Starbucks Strategy was called Vertical Maintenance but it’s an art we have forgotten and should perhaps reincarnate. Creative hooks are a valuable tool and extending listening session lengths is vital; but equally important are creating new listening occasions – for me, listening occasions are the new TSL.

The sad reality of radio is that our listeners don’t consume our medium like they do other mediums. A movie in a cinema for example has the audience engrossed in the content, uninterrupted and focused. The world is a busy place, getting busier by the second and radio must adapt. Understand the limitations our audience has and making listening to us simpler with well-defined, entertaining offerings and structured tuning appointments makes us easier to consume. Kind of like a tall, non-fat, no whip, double shot, Cinnamon Dolce latte

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