Why Aim Only at the Target When You Can Have the Whole Board?

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The Fallacy of Target Marketing with PR

Marketing and advertising professionals talk about target demographics, focus groups, narrowcast messages and guerilla marketing tactics to reach small audiences.

While a lot of people think that PR works on these principles, in my opinion, not so!

I believe that good PR isn’t about shrinking the message to fit a smaller audience, but rather, about expanding the message to reach the maximum potential audience.

My mantra has always been the mass media and for PR, that landscape has changed so dramatically. You see, about 30 years ago, if you wanted to reach the masses, you had very few choices: three TV networks, four major national consumer magazines, two newspapers per town and no Internet.

Today, there are thousands of cable channels, tens of thousands of online and offline publications, AM and FM radio, satellite radio, Internet radio, and more Internet publications for the mass consumer audience than there are print outlets. The choices for consumers are astounding! Of course, to make sense of it all, there are content aggregators (websites that collect news from other news sources), like Yahoo!, Google, AOL, MSN and others, and they draw their articles from the gigantic pool of mass media representing everything consumable, online and off.

So, today the concept of targeting or “narrowcasting” a PR campaign seems about as useful as an expired Starbucks coupon. Today’s media culture demands that when we design a campaign, we leave few to no stones unturned, because the truth is we never know who’s reading.

A good example happened a few weeks ago when a client, whose message was about changing the way we think about money, had her pitch picked up by a magazine that caters to nail salon owners. The magazine was interested in her message because its audience is comprised of entrepreneurs and the concept of money management was of interest to them. Now, if we had “narrowcasted” her pitch to just consumer publications with personal finance editors, chances are she never would have received that placement and would have missed reaching thousands of people interested in her message.

The moral of the story is that you never know who is reading, but by casting a broad net, you reach people you may never have thought to target, but who ultimately care about your message. So, for me, I’m a mass media tactician whose focus is results and my target demographic is happy clients.

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