The Gist

  • Segment significance. Catering to various user segments is crucial for customer retention and loyalty in any industry, including broadcasting.
  • Adapting approaches. Evolving customer expectations demand adaptation and innovation in providing personalized experiences across different platforms.
  • Global needs. Understanding and addressing the diverse needs of each customer segment can help build loyalty and grow the customer base.

A couple of weeks ago for some reason the old saying, “long time listener, first time caller” popped into my head. It was a throwback to a time when live DJs worked the turntables and the phones. And when someone worked up the courage to call in and request a song or join the conversation.

That, in turn, made me think about the differences between larger broadcasters — which often cover multiple markets — and the smaller broadcasters which may focus on multiple stations, but usually within a smaller number of markets — if not just one market.  

User Segments in Customer Experience Strategy

Some of the key differences are obvious. Whereas the larger broadcasters talk about efficiencies in serving the audience and being able to put together more fan or listener experiences in total. The smaller broadcasters claim that a greater percentage of their fans can participate in the same experiences. 

Despite all the positioning and grandstanding both agree that they are struggling to retain listeners. As someone with an outside perspective, it is interesting to hear the efforts put forth to gain ratings (and therefore advertiser credibility), but made me realize the importance of small detail that also often goes unnoticed in customer experience strategy — the user segments.

Much like any business, the “top segment” of customers (or in this case, listeners), get quite a bit of attention. 

Related Article: Personalization and Segmentation: How They're Different and Why It Matters

Adapting to Evolving Customer Expectations

How can we retain more of them?  How can we reward them? What else can we do to get them to listen more?  

That is the reality across almost all customer experience touchpoints across the customer journey. The financial linkage analysis tells us that we need to expand our efforts on that top tier. When we measure the voice of the customer as we work the customer feedback loop and even when we start the process with our customer journey map.  

Even in a B2B focused environment, the efforts and attention are on those "ideal" customers that pay the most.  

All of this is done for a very good reason, but the reason I bring it back to the radio industry is simple: 20 years ago, the most "loyal" listeners started to churn for other options. One could argue if these options were better or worse, but they were options that — to the listener — were more appealing to them. 

With compact discs, then with digital audio and streaming, one could customize their playlist with greater ease and have fewer commercials. The listening experience usually contained an entire music set that matched their preferences, even if they weren’t in the same musical genre. 

Learning Opportunities

Artificial intelligence (or as I would call it, "algorithmically informed") tools could generate suggestions from new music and allow the listener to decide if that music was the correct fit for them. In some ways, AI was even better than the localization. 

Related Article: How and When to Use Email Segmentation and Personalization

Every Customer Segment Matters

In 20 years, the industry went from the “focal point” of driving attention to music, to an entertainment “side show.” Yet this entire time, they were focused on the customer experience of the top tier of listeners. 

While there was disruption, one thing I noted is that this industry, like many industries, forgot that you have to GROW your loyal customers. It is not enough to only focus on one segment, but across the segments. You must look at passives and their root cause concerns.

Certainly, the needs across each customer segment is different, but it is also important to understand the “global” needs of each segment. This can come from root cause analysis, sentiment analysis or even social media analysis, and they will not be ranked the same (the highest concern for lower tier customers may only be the third most important for top tier customers), but strategies can be built in an outer loop tool to meet all the segment needs. When you are able to do this, you will slowly build more loyal customers. 

These customers will eventually forgive you of small mistakes (like playing a ballad on a hard rock station) because you have brought them more joy than a letdown. 

Most importantly, you should innovate so you can keep them for the long term — whether on a local level or in broader markets. As my final thought, listen to your audience and they’ll keep listening to you.

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