Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reaching fragmenting audiences and maximising online engagement

At about the time this post will appear on my blog I'll be speaking at the Hitwise/Australian Marketing Institute breakfast in Canberra on a topic related to Maximising engagement online whilst reducing costs.

My presentation will explore ways of identifying where audiences are going online to help organisations form appropriate strategies to target them with messages or for engagement.

This is an increasing issue for all communicators. Effectively media has fragmented, with tens of different media channels from traditional TV, newspapers and radio to a plethora of new channels such as Pay TV, console games, PC games, mobile devices and millions of websites.

Communicators have chosen several different paths to addressing this fragmentation challenge.

The first approach is the 'ostrich' - ignore all the new channels and focus on the 'traditional' mass media. This strategy continues to work - particularly for older demographics - although advertisers are paying more and more for smaller and smaller audiences.

The second is the 'spend more' approach - throw more dollars into communication in order to increase reach and frequency across different media channels. Unfortunately this also suffers from the cost curve - more money buys less media each year.

The third is the 'shout louder' approach - start spending on new media channels, but do so only to send out messages rather than encouraging conversations. Unfortunately this approach is often counter-productive. Just like shouting at someone who does not speak English, it neither improves message cut-through nor demonstrates respect for the medium or audience.

The final approach I'll discuss I call 'go with the flow'. It involves finding out where your key audiences choose to gather and then respectfully engaging them in appropriate ways. This approach requires more upfront planning and strategising than the other approaches (which may be why fewer organisations employ it), however it reaps much larger long-term benefits. Rather than simply serving as an advertising tactic it serves to create a communications and engagement platform through which organisations can interact with their key audiences on an ongoing basis.

There's no secret as to which approach I prefer as a communicator.


  1. sounds interesting Craig - will you be publishing it here - would love to read it?

  2. I'll check and get back to you Cheryl.