Case Study: How KCSM FM Tuned in the Right Premium
KCSM FM is so jazzed its member retention drive struck the right chord with donors that the station plans to sing the same tune for at least the next year.
The Greater San Francisco/Bay Area jazz station, which also streams live at kcsm.org, has a listener base of more than 200,000. About 50,000 listeners provide the donations that keep the community radio station on the air. So KCSM turned to its direct marketing agency, San Rafael, Calif.-based Goodman Marketing Partners, to try to retain the 8,548 members who hadn't donated during the past 12 months.
The "Legends of Jazz Donor Drive" dropped its first note in October 2008, for a 60-day campaign slated to end on Dec. 14. The lapsing members received direct mail pieces asking them to renew and informing them that donations of $80 or more would earn them T-shirts blending their names in with those of jazz greats, such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Wynton Marsalis. The station noticed the campaign striking the right chord, with a 6.75 percent response rate on donations of any size. But the real music to KCSM's ears came with the high notes—34 percent, or 200 of those 577 renewing members, donated $80 or more (averaging more than $100 each).
For the finale, KCSM's retention campaign brought in $42,400, for an ROI of 204 percent.