By Holland Cooke
NOT just toilet paper hoarding.
From Stop & Shop, the supermarket goliath here in New England:
- As shoppers spend more time in the kitchen, they’re buying more frozen foods, fresh meat and seafood, and plant-based proteins; and fewer of the ready-to-eat (while driving) sandwiches and salads (to tote to the break room at work, or eat in your cubicle).
- Surprise snack trend: hummus.
- Unsurprisingly, alcoholic beverage sales are up.
- As we’re wearing-masks/washing-hands/avoiding-contact, cold and flu relief products aren’t selling, also unsurprising. Doctors I’ve interviewed on my TV show tell me that while ducking the coronavirus, we’re also dodging the flu, which is way down this season.
- Masks – and all the time we spend alone — might also contribute to slumping sales of gum and breath mints.
- And to keep cheery, we’re bringing home flowers and balloons.
Data like this informs our programming and sales.
Oh, and guys: She’ll smile if you bring home what I heard a focus group call “supermarket flowers;” but she’ll LOVE ya if you bring her “florist flowers.” Bring, not send, with all due respect to “Enter the Promo Code…” Doing so, you’re walking-the-walk about these shop-local liners we air.
They’re media-shopping too
Got Netflix? As in “a new movie every week?” Seen season 1 of “Lupin?” Wow. Note how your own video consumption has changed.
- Stations: Still thinking “morning drive?” Or “listen at work?” They’re radio’s version of the ready-to-eat sandwich. What’s our hummus? Our booze? Our flowers and balloons?
- Clues: Alexa. And podcasts. Like Netflix, they’re on-demand; not just the live/real-time content we feed transmitters.
- Alexa: There are limitless audio competitors there. Do listeners understand how to ask for what you offer there that nobody else does?
- Podcasts: The consumption chart is a hockey stick. You are an audio production professional. For which local service retailers can you produce how-to audio/video that you excerpt in on-air spots? Stuff super-relevant to the way people are coping now. As local-sounding as possible.
Don’t curse the FCC…THANK them!
When they tossed The Main Studio Rule, they gave stations you compete with permission to (literally) mail-it-in.
If you can be more diligent, and convey – with simpatico, in listener language – that stories you tell offer solutions for today’s circumstances, you will be conspicuous. With my sleeves rolled-up, I KNOW it’s a challenge to be that resourceful.
The co-founder of Airbnb recalls how horrified he and his roommate were several years ago when their landlord, here in Rhode Island, raised the rent 25%. They started renting out nights on an air mattress in their living room, thus the name. Back to the future: Their fastest growing segment is 20-plus day rentals, in many cases “work-cations” for pandemic work-at-homes. And he speaks of “nomad seniors,” retired Baby Boomers “who live nowhere.” They’ve put their stuff in storage, they have debit cards, and they travel from one Airbnb to another, sometimes spending months somewhere they like.
Big problems present big opportunities. Read the room.
Holland Cooke is the author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books (click the banner on this page). He is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. And HC hosts “The Big Picture” TV show Friday nights at 7ET on RT America. Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke