So, you have a brilliant campaign strategy. One of those strategic plans where you just have to take a step back and applaud yourself because you nailed it. The creative work turned out beautifully and the copywriting is spot on with your message. You’re so excited to put your plan into action because everything has been executed perfectly. But when you start to evaluate your success, the results are extremely disappointing!

What happened? Chances are your placement and targeting are off. In other words you’re saying all the right things to all the wrong people.

What’s the Big Deal?
Often times when marketing efforts are not producing the desired results, marketers look at their strategic message and creative solutions to correct the problem. What tends to get overlooked is who exactly is being targeted.

Deer hunting is a great example for this issue. When I’m out in my stand, I use a very high quality rifle with quality ammunition. Now if I were to start shooting in all directions randomly, my chances of getting a deer would be slim to none (not to mention being extremely dangerous for other hunters in the area). Would it make sense for me to blame my failure on the rifle and ammunition I was using? Of course not! Clearly my targeting and aim are at fault.

It’s the same thing with advertising and marketing. You could have the best strategy ever and the creative ammunition to back it up, but without proper targeting and placement, it isn’t going to drive the results you’re after.

Reach vs. Frequency
There is a common misconception in advertising that it is best to pump your message and creative tactics out to as many people as possible. This principle is called reach; how many people can I expose to my message? There are times where this method can be effective, but most of the time you will just waste your precious budget just as I was wasting ammunition in my deer hunting example.

Another common misconception is that it is good to hit the same people with your message over and over again. This is called frequency; how many times people are exposed to your message. While it’s true that reaching the listener multiple times helps establish a relationship with them and gets them to think more about your message, hitting the same few people with a constant barrage is like shooting a deer you already hit. You are still wasting ammo.

Ideally, with an infinite budget it would be best to use both reach and frequency. Or try to hit as many people as you can, as many times as you can. But realistically, it is very rare to have a budget large enough to maximize both principles.

The key is finding a balance. To get the most success out of your budget, it is best to optimize it so that you are hitting a large amount of people multiple times. For example, let’s say you have a budget that would allow you to target either 50,000 people one time or 5,000 people ten times. The most effective option would actually be to find the middle ground and hit 25,000 people five times.

Questions to Ask Yourself.

  • Who is my target audience? – Where do they live? What’s their gender, age, income, level of education etc.?
  • What makes them “tick?”- Psychographic information, what are their interests and hobbies? What are the trends among this group?
  • How do they receive information? – What mediums do they use? If you’re advertising to millennials, newspaper might not be the best way to reach them. If you’re advertising for an assisted living facility, online may not be the most effective.

Need help with your placement and targeting? Call us at (701) 478-1111 or visit us at We would be happy to help.