Beyond Reach

Marketing guru Seth Godin recently reminded us that “reach is overrated“. Advertising is about getting your message to the right people, not the most people.

This is one of the reasons why search advertising can be so effective. Imagine a search results page not as an ‘answer’ generated on the fly, but as a permanent page on the web. Now, if we sold ‘blue widgets’, and knew there was a page on the web solely viewed by people who wanted to buy blue widgets, wouldn’t we want to advertise on it?

The challenge is to find that page. Or more practically, the pages on the search engines viewed by the most people who might want to buy our stuff.

Here’s where the ‘reach’ idea comes in. The page about ‘blue widgets’ might get 100x the views of the page about ‘blue widget suppliers’, so its ‘reach’ is much better. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get more enquirers. More people who want to buy blue widgets might head straight for the Google page about ‘blue widget suppliers’. That’s why it’s so important to work out where the buyers, enquirers or simply engaged visitors are coming from. All pretty obvious stuff, but it’s surprising how many people fall for the ‘bigger reach’ argument, sometimes without realising it.

1 thought on “Beyond Reach”

  1. The obsession with reach has also influenced marcomm activities in the print and online media world. There is an increasing tendency to look only at a publication’s circulation figures and wanting to work with those with high numbers, rather than focusing on if they are actually read by the people you need to influence. You only need a handful of readers if they are the right ones. It is a matter of constant surprise to me how few companies in the engineering sector are still spending significant sums on advertising with magazines without first checking what media their customers actually read.

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