Genergraphics: Supercharging Radio Sales

Radio's New Revenue Opportunity

In a series of recent interviews with radio marketing directors,  Bridge Ratings Media Research learned that most companies (55%) use demographics (statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it) when marketing for increasing reach; 25% use psychographics (the study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria) and 20% use some form of Genergraphics (separating the generations and their mindsets for marketing and advertising). 

Why is this important? 

In today's world of media overload, marketing messages generally do not cut through beyond "awareness" to "engagement" as much as they used to.

With so much clutter, a more focused approach to marketing/sales is needed and we're finding the genergraphic approach to marketing stimulates engagement and consumer recognition. This is because marketing messaging created with generational mindset vs demographic definition is much more effective. 

Analyst Jack Myers has released new data suggesting the potential for radio to break out of "the new normal" of the last few years' 0%-2% annual revenue growth.

Jack indicates that the growth of audio advertising will flourish at least through 2020 with "over the air broadcast" to cordon off the "lion's share of total audio spend in 2020". The number is 80% of the $20.8 billion forecast to be spent on audio advertising in 2020 leaving 20% for digital pureplays like Pandora and Spotify.

With this good news is even better news: if radio can perfect its sales approach by properly defining consumers, response to advertising will improve and increased dollars will flow.

Radio's been a fan of audience research for decades, refining it over the years to improve ratings and sales.

Audience insights through demographics brought a sophistication to radio ad buying and further improved with targeted advertising such as content and textual targeting, time targeting, sociodemographic targeting and behavioral targeting. 

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These tactics have been beneficial to radio, but as media consumption becomes more layered there is one definitive approach that should be given a closer look: Genergraphics - the marketing approach that combines psychographics with the sociological mindset of a specific generation.

The challenge is to shred the old school approach of demographic marketing to embrace a new, more targeted way of selling, programming and advertising.

It's time for a change.

The days of marketing to the wide 25-54 demographic or 50+ needs to be invigorated and Genergraphics is the answer.

Genergraphics® is the brainchild of Phil Goodman who also holds a process patent on Genergraphics Web sites. Phil Goodman and Craig Carapelho have brought together their experience and expertise in order to develop a full array of Genergraphics marketing services including Genergraphics Web sites, advertising and product marketing, market research, and communications consulting services. There's much to be learned here.


Generational marketing is more sophisticated and accurate in reaching consumers than common methods of dissecting a market by demographics or lesser-known psychographic analysis.

A generation is defined by the rise and fall of the birth rates by the Census Bureau.

Genergraphics and psychographics are both derived from sociology, but there is a big difference between the two. Genergraphics goes beyond an individual's personality which is pretty much determined by the age of six.  It equates to a person's mindset from their generation which is based on social circumstances of their youthful formative years (12-16 years of age).

Think about this: two people can have similar personalities but be members of different generations. 

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Click on image to enlarge.

Generations can buy the same product or service but they purchase for different reasons. The number one reason many ad campaigns don't succeed as much as they should can be traced to the segmentation of consumers by demographics. The commonly-used 25-54-year-old demographic consists of three distinct generations who may like the same products and services but can be motivated to purchase for very different reasons.

Genergraphics market research does all that demographics and psychographics can do, but it goes further by revealing the "why" and "how" a generation does or does not influence another generation in buying decisions. 


More importantly, generagraphics will show you how to sell and market to more than one generation at a time without alienating the others that purchase the same product or service.

So, radio, keep this in mind...Genergraphics keeps the research for your clients on track by following different generations through different stages of their lives. 

Keep in mind that the social and historical events that occur during a young person's formative years (12-16) will dictate how they think for the rest of their lives. 

18-24 year olds in the 80s grew up in a far different world than today's 18-24s. Someone in their formative years in 1985 was born around 1970. The culture they grew up in still guides their consumption and entertainment choices today thirty-three years later.

Marketing should vary by mindset with an understanding that each generation carries its own unique set of circumstances which shape its expectations and way of life.

Traditional media has generally depended on demographics to target its audience for both sales and product research. In this age of media bombardment, marketing messages are challenged to break through. It's  time to move to a more focused approach.

Radio has all the tools to take advantage of generational marketing. 

New Generational Insights*

Millennials can’t seem to get a break. They are said to be either too lazy or too disruptive.  They are either all flocking to the suburbs, or to the city or some other various homogenization.  This 80+ million demographic is a mystery to most in marketers precisely because the vast majority of people believe that Millennials act as a monolith, and nothing could be farther from the truth.

In fact, there is a minimum of four sub-demographics that actually range wildly in values and culture  Forbes magazine offers this snapshot of three key areas-to-watch, as they intersect with tech, during these next couple quarters as they pertain to various parts of the Millennial demographic:

A. Money, Honey – Watch for an even greater intersection of Millennial behavioral trends and new scenarios around money including cryptocurrency. Crypto is very much a millennial’s game, with 17.21% of millennials claiming to own crypto, versus only 8.75% of Gen X and 2.24% of baby boomers jumping into digital currency, this new area of finance is more of an “Uber” Millennial play at the moment, not all Millennials in total.  The “Uber” Millennial is college-educated, more apt to live in a major city, and is a professional/upwardly mobile, among several other traits. This is the disruptor who is more financially stable and who is game for innovation.

B. Diversity - Race and ethnicity, not only pertaining to that steady drumbeat of diversity and inclusion, but also and missteps around this area as well as debate and conversation will grow in volume for certain segments of the Millennial audience.  While “Vice” Millennials (think hipsters, anti-mainstream, lovers of vintage) will continue to abstain from this conversation except within their own closely guarded circles, the “Culture” Millennial will see this area as a growing topic of interest but will show support via media properties (i.e. film, music videos) that address the issues rather than direct protest or organization and most of the sentiment will be expressed via Instagram.

C. Brother’s Keeper – The demand for social responsibility and identification of who stands for what will deepen, particularly when it comes to powerful corporations.  Much examination will be done out-loud via social media giving few brands time to prepare.

The debate around artificial Intelligence for good (or bad) will grow in volume within this trend segment as well. This will mostly be spearheaded by the  “Uber” Millennial, though other sub-demos of Millennials will join in freely depending upon the topic and the target.  This trend could and will impact any industry.

Gen-Y? Yes, The Echo Boomers

Gen-Y experienced 72 million births in the U.S.. They're called Echo Boomers because they are (mostly children of the Boomers coming after Generation-X. What key characteristics define this generation? One reason they are so important is because of the generation's size which is critical for a marketer to appreciate.

This generation saw events in their youths that made them cynical about job security based on how their parents lost careers in the 90's.

Tech/Web Savvy:

I’ll send you an email’.  Generation Y were born into an emerging world of technology and have grown up surrounded by smart phones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets. As a generation people are constantly plugged into technology and it becomes an essential aspect of the generations life. And they do not respond to traditional marketing methods. 

Generation Y prefer to communicate more quickly and effectively via email, social networks or text messaging as opposed to traditional means of communication. The generation are also attracted to organizations where technology is at the forefront of the companies ethos. Traditional companies are less of an attraction for the millennial generation . 


Echo Boomers need praise. They were always told how special they were when they were growing up and thus believe they are quite special. As a result they are highly confident and expect praise. This is a lesson for human resource managers and business managers: give Echo Boomers the praise they deserve.


Generation Y are confident and ambitious.  Expectations typically need to be managed as Generation Y’s are confident to take on important roles within organizations as soon as they begin. As an organization the difficulty is managing these expectations without stifling creativity and development. Generation Y have high expectations of their employers and expect this to be matched. Many are not afraid to seek employment elsewhere if this ambition is not met. Unlike generations before them they are happy to change job roles more often to find the right organisation to work within.

Team Players:

Teamwork is high on the agenda of Generation Y, but they still expect structure in the workplace.


Because of technology, Gen-Y are the first truly global generation. They are group-oriented, adaptable and excel at processing information quickly. It is important for marketers to speak through the tech and social media methods that this generation is so comfortable with. 

Final Thoughts

Regardless of targets, the Genergraphic approach to marketing supercharges the effort and focuses the message. Position your product to reach new age groups by appealing to their core values and needs. Marketing to each generation requires different mindsets and strategies. Communicating with different generations to sell products and services can be tricky yet Genergraphics can solve the puzzle.

Genergraphics can:

• Identify strong market segments within each generation based on differences in actual consumer behavior.

• Determine future demand in a dynamic marketplace as baby boomers mature and generation x'ers and Millennials mature in their prime earning years.

• Reposition your products to meet the needs and expectations of new generations as they transition into your market's target age range.

• Enhance cross-sell opportunities by knowing the entire market basket of goods and services used by different segments within each of the generations.

If there was ever a time to take advantage of this research-based lifestyle approach to marketing, it is today as digital media platforms coupled with traditional media targeting empower business to be effective communicators.

*New Generational Insights were derived from a national Bridge Ratings study fielded between March 1, 2018 through April 30, 2018 with a random sample of 4020 persons ages 6+. Sample error = +/-1.2%. Interviews were done through focus group interviews and on-line questionnaires. The sample consisted of 52% women, 48% men.

The Dismantling of Mass Appeal

Broadcast radio's problems are generally not founded in poor marketing, unpopular programming or bad perception.

It may be simpler than that.

It just might be that the age of technology where everything - entertainment, food, insurance, even pets - can be customized, personalized and tweaked in which the consumer's world is becoming one where the concept of mass appeal is rapidly disintegrating.

And while network TV, once the bastion of mass appeal entertainment, still has its mass hits like "The Big Bang Theory" or even "The Walking Dead", its audiences are being chipped away by Netflix and Hulu and YouTube,  companies that specialize in personalized entertainment.

Broadcast radio has not escaped the effects of this cultural change.

Since the heyday of radio starting in the 60's and to this day, radio formats or highly narrowed presentations of music or talk, have successfully been built on generations or cohorts. Top 40 radio has always appealed to youth,. Women of a certain age have made Soft Adult Contemporary Music stations popular for years.  These groups of similarly aged, lifestyled or geographically co-located consumers allowed broadcasters to target specific types of radio listeners.  Often, the more narrow the target, the higher the ratings because those narrow-casted radio stations highly appealed to a smaller segment who listened much longer.

For people to constitute a generation, typically  they must have similar life experiences. Our world has been grouping consumers in 15-20 year cohorts since Mad Men on Madison Avenue discovered segmentation. Unfortunately, targeting consumers in this mass approach today is going against the momentum of societal changes due to technology's impact on behaviors.

Swimming upstream is not producing the kinds of engagement marketers - and radio stations - have been used to.

Technology is changing rapidly, and there is a time coming when it arrives at such an advanced point that we can’t even imagine how much more our lives will be impacted. Today's cohorts or generations are finding less and less in common because technology is allowing the narrowing of choice to infiltrate everything.

And this is broadcast radio's challenge.

Successful marketing, advertising or programming to a mass of consumers of one age group, even one lifestyle group is already showing signs of being less effective.

Broadcast radio can proclaim 245 million listeners every week according to Nielsen's latest estimates at the time of this writing, yet behind the curtain the amount of time these listeners spend with radio each week is declining for just the reasons mentioned here. Technology is allowing customized, personalized programming that consumes a percentage of the time previously spent with radio as well as television and newspapers.

The danger is thinking about these people in big buckets anymore when with all the data at our disposal, marketing, radio programming, appealing has now become a one-to-one process.

It is becoming more and more difficult to develop consensus understanding of generations, cohorts or audiences.

Broadcast radio has the tools that will enable it to achieve digitally what it cannot through their AM and FM signals.

The business has begun to take advantage of such tools, but the dismantling of mass appeal is a development radio needs to get ahead of - quickly.

Dave Van Dyke
Bridge Ratings