Broadly speaking, some people are good prospects and some people are not prospects at all. To separate them is important. Let’s take an example: If you are selling caviar and only one person in ten thousand likes caviar, can afford caviar, and is ready to buy now, there is no reason to advertise to the other 9999.
Targeted media aren’t perfect. But, it can properly define one out of 50 people mailed who would buy. That is the difference between mass media and targeted media.
Mass media, radio, television, newspapers, and consumer magazines say: “Buy me. I’m so cheap that you will find your caviar buyers among my large circulation.”
Targeted media, direct mail, and telephone say: “We will deliver you your caviar buyers because we can target directly to them.”
Sure, this targeting isn’t perfect. It cuts out a lot of waste audience-but one, two, five, maybe ten out of one hundred are ready to buy. But because direct mail can tell, a longer story, and phone can be more persuasive, they become efficient.
The science of figuring this all out is the science of media, or audience selection. As many people-hours are put into this area as the highly visible creative area, and their efforts can be more productive.
The best message to the wrong audience is worthless. The worst message to the right audience will get you some business. Obviously, direct mail and telephone are only used when the right audience is available.
Your Customer-the Right Audience
The best audience is your customers. They already know you; they know your product or service; they have confidence in you; they have an interest or need in what you sell.
Direct mail or telephone work best to present customers. That fact has lead to the Data Base Revolution, which simply means every customer must be captured and converted into a firm’s data base. The constant use of that data base to get more business from these past customers is the most efficient advertising or promotion an organization can do.
Direct mail and telephone work because they have these targeted data bases to start with. Reorders for office products, magazine subscription renewal programs, catalogs to customers, new services for utilities, new financial services for bank customers, insurance policy renewals, and large donor renewals all work with direct mail because the audience is targeted. Membership renewals, product reordering and replenishing, warranty renewals, and insurance renewals all work for marketing because of their extremely targeted nature. Lists closely related to past customer lists may also be successful. These would include catalog inquiries, magazine subscription expirations, requests for more information, and customer lists of competitors. These work because it is known the person has already expressed an interest in what you are offering.
Of all the factors we have discussed that relate to waste audience, geographical waste is one of the most prevalent and the most media related.
If I’m mailing to owners of butcher shops in Southern California, there are, according to the Yellow Pages, about 220. Why advertise in the metropolitan paper, with circulation in excess of one million, if I am only trying to reach 220 and I know who the 220 are. The same problem occurs with television and radio. Plus, how many of the 220 butcher shop owners will read the paper the day I advertise, or will see my TV commercial, or hear my radio commercial? At least with direct mail they will glance at my envelope or have an opportunity to turn down my phone call.
The entire advertising industry is dedicated to doing a better job of targeting. This is true for mass media just as much as targeted media.