Exactly what is reach?
It used to be easy. Pay a price per point. Nielsen (sub your favorite tracking service) supplies you with reach per point (or like figures). Anyone that buys produce by the pound can figure out the calculations.
Now, we have this new digital world that we try to apply similar pay for play services. I can get you one million eyeballs for a price you wouldn’t believe.
The problem with this belief is in that every eyeball is the same. Failures of campaigns were failures of the messages or failures of the product itself.
In reality, reach only promises what it can – broad appeal. Our marketing funnel starts with awareness because that’s about all we can guarantee with reach. Everything thereafter is voodoo science.
Then along comes digital media promising relevance to users. Search engines actually provide information that matches your needs. Yet, banner ads still appear promising your eyeballs as part of a big deal.
I don’t expect 2009 to change the reliance on reach. However, the idea of reach will start changing. Rather than reaching one million potential customers, companies will begin to show more interest in reaching ten thousand very interested customers.
Now that we know these customers are interested, reach begins to show some promise and act as the verb we intended it to be.
I also expect these thoughts to begin spreading past Google. Just because Google provides a simple tool for managing customer intent does not make it the end all. In fact, there are many other starting points today where users are indicating intent and broadcasting signals that they need your product.
I expect that the bridge between user expectations of their online experiences and marketers struggles with messaging to begin to form around reach.
To aid this goal, let’s start thinking about what reaching customers actually entails. A certain scene from ‘Clockwork Orange’ comes to mind in the not to do category.