Since its first broadcast some thirty years or so ago my wife Anny and I have listened to Classic FM.
We both have a wide taste in music but have always enjoyed the station as our go-to place for background sound in the day. Through its various iterations, the station has continued to grow and indeed the pandemic enabled an introduction to a wider audience. Yet in recent months, its figures have been declining and in fact quite rapidly.
Hence new marketing campaigns in the belief they will halt the decline.
It would seem that there is trouble in the house.
However, do they really need a new marketing campaign, or have they changed the formula of success?
I believe there is a very simple set of reasons why Classic FM numbers have declined.
Their increasing insistence on using household names as their presenters mostly from the BBC has given it the feel of a BBC station. Yet many listeners left the BBC for Classic FM in the first place so the last thing they want is to be listening to a me-too radio station. Classic FM always stood in its own space, arguably in fact, it created its own space, so why copy them?
Lets be clear that the presenters are doing a very competent job, it is as a collective the 'feel' of the station that has changed. In its early years, it was always about the music - now it seems far more about money.
The music is being interrupted with more and more adverts for both paying advertisers and a plethora of internal promotions such as concerts, charities, and plugs for other programmes.
These interruptions are louder than the music, are intrusive and the adverts are part of the overall Global advertising platform meaning the same advert is marketed repeatedly across all its stations. The adverts are not refined to the Classic FM audience and an increasing turn-off.
It seems to us that in the quest for more money, the parent company is asking the wrong question.
It shouldn’t be ‘our numbers are on the decline why isn’t our marketing working?’ so let’s launch more campaigns…
It should be ‘What do our listeners really want to listen to?’
– after all, they are the client.
For many of us in our day-to-day family businesses and especially in challenging trading conditions, it is easy to ask the same wrong question.
We can be tempted to spend lots of money on misinformed marketing campaigns that are unlikely to work…
Instead of going straight to our clients and understanding what their needs are, understand if those needs have changed and how we can help them.
Then with firm knowledge create a campaign to accommodate their collective needs…
Business isn’t that complicated.
Ask your clients what they want and give it to them!
Are you struggling to market now?
Perhaps we can help.
You know where we are.
Until the next time...