In order to establish a successful underwriting effort, stations must be able to develop relationships with current and potential underwriters. Building relationships is one of the key ingredients that makes an underwriting effort successful. Member surveys can help facilitate relationships with underwriters by providing valuable information on the relationship between the station and its listeners, and the listeners and their product. For example, if a station can demonstrate to a potential underwriter that 80% of its listeners are frequent purchasers of their products and services, it will only enhance the chances of a successful underwriting relationship.
Member surveys provide the localism that is beyond the capabilities of a national survey. Results from a member survey can be a supplement to your underwriting presentation. The information is one more way to confirm to potential and current underwriters that your listeners have an interest in their product or service.
In designing the survey, be specific regarding businesses you are targeting. The survey results may confirm that your listeners currently use or would be interested in the product or services of a potential underwriter. For example, some early surveys for WKSU proved valuable in convincing a number of local bookstores to underwrite the station. This result paid for the cost of the survey immediately.
A member survey can also be used to track name recognition of your current underwriters with your core listeners. Are your members familiar with the names of your underwriters? Do members support your local underwriters, and with what frequency? This information can assist underwriters in determining whether their underwriting message is making an impact on the listeners they want to reach, and positive results can also provide a convincing case for renewal and expansion of underwriting.
A member survey can also offer an underwriter added value to their underwriting schedule by providing them with specific information about their customers. You can assist your underwriter in determining what other forms of media your listeners use. This helps you serve more as a media planner for the underwriter in determining other advertising strategies they may wish to engage in. This can be an especially effective strategy in small- and medium-sized markets, where the information a business has about its customers may be less extensive and detailed. This service makes the station not just another entity that takes money; it makes you a partner and consultant in the marketing of their business. This type of relationship can greatly enhance the lifetime value of each underwriter.