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The Differences Between a Reach and Targeting Strategy

When you go fishing, do you cast a net into the water and wait for the fish to swim into it? Or do you use a certain rod and line with a specific lure? Marketing strategies are no different. Although there is no "right" or "wrong" way of doing things, I am certainly entitled to my opinion. Based on the analogy I gave, what type of fisherman have you been? Have you been patiently waiting for your volume-based efforts to convert or have you been able to make it home with dinner every night? Think about that as we continue on with our strategic series of summer..
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Reach and targeting strategies have been around for ages. Do you ever chuckle at the beat up branded bumper sticker on the car in front of you? Are you ever tired of passing that cheesy billboard on your way to work every day? Have you ever called the number on either? What about a target ad? No, not the “bullseye view”, we’re talking about the advertisement directed at you. Do you ever notice the retargeting ad following you to every webpage you visit? What if I was to make pun and tell you that you really can expect more and pay less? First, we have to understand the difference in the two..

So, what exactly does “reach” mean?

According to the dictionary, reach is defined as moving or stretching out an arm in a specified direction in order to touch or grasp something. Reach is a common phrase that’s used in the marketing realm as well. When your goals surround the objective of reach, you’re essentially trying to grab as much attention as you can. Although I can’t personally think of a good reason to invest in this type of strategy, many brands use reach when launching a new product. They simply play the numbers game and develop a campaign without much purpose outside of demographics.  Common volume based approaches include:

  • Geographical mailers or flyers.
  • Email blasts, faxes, or cold calling.
  • Placing an ad in a well-known publication.
  • Billboards or other forms of high traffic marketing.

Although this is a decent approach when developing your brand presence, this type of strategy can leave you “out of touch” with your customers. Reaching for sales through volume can generate profits but the return on your investment might not be satisfactory. So, it actually degenerates profits.. In my opinion, executing a reach campaign tends to be effective for brands that already possess high recognition. Anyone else should continue reading..

So then, what’s the meaning behind targeting?

In contrast to a reach strategy, targeting focuses on a developed plan that attacks a specific audience. Furthermore, the dictionary defines targeting as properly aimed at, or on the right course towards an accurate, correct, or valid goal. When it comes to marketing, it’s no different. Targeting your audience with relevant material – based on their interests, behaviors, or affiliations – aids brands in generating an improved return. It’s really as simple as uncovering opportunity through strategic planning.

Targeting potential customers, or even retargeting visitors, can be done in a multitude of ways. Through segmentation, you can assess your current customer base and determine specific ways to cater to their needs. For new acquisition, you can focus on a certain demographic or online community to market your product or service. Either way, you’re setting a purpose for your campaign. Here are some examples of targeting strategies:

  • Pay Per Click campaigns
  • SEO Content strategies
  • Email segmentation
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Display ad retargeting (CPA/CPM)

From my perspective, targeting customers that have shown interest in your product or service (or similar brands) gives you an advantage when it comes to conversion rates. Easier said than done, targeting consumers and catering to their needs can create loyal customers that turn to you in specific times of need – what more can you ask for?

And the reach and targeting conclusion is..

If your business is struggling, and you’re thinking about blasting the community with advertisements – I beg you to reconsider. Although a marketing plan takes time, a sustained return can pay huge dividends. Traffic and volume are a thing of the past and users now value relevant content they can relate to. Immerse yourself in a game plan that pinpoints your messaging and caters it to your perfect customers.

Converting 1/1000 views will never compare to a 5-10% conversion rate. At the same time, it’s your business. But, I encourage you to take the time to evaluate both while considering your budget and potential return. If a reach campaign doesn’t sound promising, then it’s time to retarget the drawing board. Best of luck either way..

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