Broad Advertising vs. Targeted Ads

Broad advertising


Last week, I was talking to my father about one his favorite pastimes: fishing. When talking about where and how to catch fish, I realized that it served as a perfect metaphor for digital marketing, especially how people treat social media.

Whenever I get asked what the best social media site to use is, I always ask what the purpose and the audience is. Otherwise, it’s impossible it’s impossible to determine what the best fit is.

Broad advertising is like trolling the ocean with nets, in hopes of catching as much as possible. There are more fish in the ocean than in lakes and rivers but there’s also much more area to cover. It also can be expensive, especially if there’s no specific target. This also reminds me of when people try to use Facebook as a marketing tool simply because it has the most users, even if they don’t know how their target audience uses the site (or if they use it at all).

On the other hand, targeted advertising is like knowing the secret fishing hole. It’s about knowing the exact target audience and ignoring other things that don’t fit the profile of that target. It’s less expensive than broad advertising because you can focus. You have a specific bait or lure that appeals specifically to that target and your return on investment is much higher.

Of course, you can run with this analogy even further and apply it to print, television, radio, etc. But at the end of the day, one has to ask: what kind of fish do you want to catch? Are you fishing in the right areas with the right kind of bait? And ultimately, does this lead to a sustainable, competitive advantage?

One thought on “Broad Advertising vs. Targeted Ads

  1. I needed to thank you for this wonderful read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it.
    I have you book marked to look at new things you post…

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