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August 29, 2008

Not how many but who

I’m not to sure who the first person was to really hit on this one but I it was Seth Godin over at Seth’s Blog, and from his book Meatball Sundae that really helped me to crystallize this idea in my mind.

In the past marketing used to be all about how many sets of eyes you could draw to your marketing and advertising campaign. Mass marketing was the going idea and is the driving concept behind the success of the Super Bowl as an advertising event, as well as many other television events.

Today we are a bit too media savvy to fall for mass advertising like that. Our eyes don’t even run over the boxes on the newspaper pages, we deliberately avoid looking at the billboards on the highway, we don’t take any notice of the banner ads on most websites, and we now use Tivo (or other) to forward through the ads.

In my own career I started an engineering consultancy in Australia, which focused marketing spending on magazine ads, newspaper ads and other mass media locations. It was a disaster. I am not sure if any of these efforts ever made my telephone ring even once.

Later I started an Internet marketing company in Mexico. Here I learned a vital lesson that was to help me in the future. People only click on ads, or take notice of the ads if the theme is directly relevant to them and if they are interested in knowing more.

My company was focused on the engineering sectors of Latin America. So I could help my advertisers to develop campaigns that would attract only those that had a direct interest in what they were offering. Sometimes this meant a focus group of as low as 1000 readers only. But they were readers who were already self-qualified in some way to be in that group, so they were more likely to buy!

If you look around the Internet you find that this is now the dominant form of advertising. Google Adwords for example places a few lines of text near search themes that are related to that topic.

Your goal as an advertiser is not to get hundreds of people to click the link, but to get only those with a real interest in what you are offering. This means that you need to craft the words not to attract everyone – but to attract only those who are really interested.

The same applies for a range of “new” media products and sites such as Slideshare, YouTube, Free Webinars (Using of course…), LinkedIn, Blogs and so on. (Even SEO)

People now have the world’s information literally at their fingertips. When they want something they are going to look for it very carefully and when they find it they are already 2/3 of the way to making a purchase.

What a brilliant concept, simple, obvious and very powerful; not how many – but who.

Your goal then is to understand how your audience searches for things, what they are actually looking for, and how you can position your online marketing tools to make sure that you capture their attention.

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