The Importance of Evidence in Strategic Planning | radioinfo

The Importance of Evidence in Strategic Planning

Sunday 13 September, 2020

Content from BPR.

Evidence has been described as a body of facts indicating whether a proposition or belief is true or valid.

Legal evidence

The legal system uses evidence to test each item or claim, determining if there is a good case to answer. Evidence proves a fact in issue. On the other hand, lack of evidence undermines the claim. In court proceedings, hard evidence is the major player, and opinions, even of experts, are of secondary importance.

Scientific evidence

Science is based on objective and measurable evidence. A hypothesis is put forward to explain a phenomenon or event. Then evidence either confirming or disconfirming the hypothesis is sought in a wide range of situations (showing where the theory does and does not work). 

Evidence in Radio Programming

In radio terms, evidence is CRUCIAL in a strategy meeting; without it, important decisions are based on opinions or falsehoods.

A few examples.

Say you’re considering a total repositioning of your station starting with a new target demographic. When choosing the target, use census data to see which group makes up a sizeable share of the population.  Then look at Radio Audience Measurement (RAM) data to see how much that demographic contributes to overall listening. Finally, use strategic (perceptual) market research to determine which station (if any) owns the key programming positions for that demographic or if the battleground has already been won. That is evidence.

Talent. As with many things in life, personal biases and taste can play an unfortunate role when determining the right talent for a station. Too often, these traits can pollute the decision making process. Certainly, with unknown talent we often have to take a leap of faith…but where possible, ask the listeners what they think…they are the ones to whom you’re trying to appeal. That is evidence.

Music. The importance of music research can never be underestimated. Yes, you have to take that leap of faith again with new music but once you get the signal from the listeners via the research that they’re not that engaged with that new song (which you love)…..get it off the air! Continually test your entire universe……listeners’ tastes change….find out what they like NOW. That is evidence.

Objectivity. Research provides the foundation for decision making based on logical reasoning. It takes the guesswork out of the process. Research provides the reality. That’s evidence.

Finally

Be prepared.

Gather as much EVIDENCE as you can before you commence the strategy meeting.

This may include census data, RAM data, the results of a strategic/perceptual study, a music map, music research, etc.

Seek evidence that cannot be denied. Look for facts that will shake other’s falsely formed beliefs. Strategy meetings can be daunting ……and sometimes the loudest voice can dominate…..and they are not always right.

Impress the room with your KNOWLEDGE of the entire situation.

Deploy the evidence carefully and to a planned strategy.

Ultimately, the unshakeable facts based on the evidence you have submitted will provide the foundation for the critical decisions moving forward…. decisions that could impact not only the financial security of your station but the professional careers of you and your colleagues.

 

 

David Kidd

 

 

 
 

 


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1 Comments

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Anthony The Koala
14 September 2020 - 4:18pm
I agree with with the premise of the article that research and continual monitoring of 'movements' in customer data is needed to either establish a business or the business to continue as a going concern.

I also agree that one should "...look for facts that will shake other’s falsely formed beliefs.....," fourth-last paragraph. I don't have access to the minds of management.

How much the management adhere's to "falsely held beliefs" ? For many years there was the belief over 30 years ago that women wouldn't attract listeners to a talk radio program. Why that belief was held when (i) there were successful women presenters on the ABC, the 1960s with Andrea and Gwen Plumb. Then (ii) the ABC had success with Caroline Jones and Margaret Throsby on 2BL (ABC 702). Recently, prior to the last ratings survey, pre-pandemic 2GB's Deborah Knight's afternoon program registered ratings higher than the previous presenter.

If we are to believe that evidence-based research aids in decision making, one would believe that the numbers would be crunched in order to determine whether the business model is profitable.

All business is risk. Having followed the progress of 2UE and 2CH over the last few years, one would believe that "Talking Lifestyle", "Talking Sports" for 2UE would be profitable. Similarly, 2CH would have been profitable as a music station if the research indicated that it would succeed.

Unfortunately, for 2CH and 2UE, the ventures were running at a loss. The previous owners of 2CH were likely to break even when it was sold to Croc Media after adjusting for present value discounted cash flows. We await the results of 2UE's ratings forthcoming later in September 2020 (this month, 2020).

While acknowledging the author's remark about continual monitoring of listeners' consumption of music and the type of music, I do have concerns about the assumptions for a particular genre of music that there is a 'closed thinking' in regards for new and emerging artists being admitted to the radio station's playlist.

It seems that in many business models that management are so 'conservative' in not experimenting or doing things outside the 'market research box' . It was Steve Jobs who has been known to say that "...people don't know what they want until you show it to them. That's why I never rely on market research...."

Yes business models have risk. While research is a very useful business decision tool, you don't want to be locked in a 'vicious cycle' that if it's not in the data you don't proceed. But if you do use the data, it may well be worth to be like Steve Jobs' approach to be proactive and surprise the customer. For radio stations, it may mean to reserve some time on the weekend to 'experiment' and measure the response.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting Belfield
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