Take Account of Cross-Audience Exposure in Marketing Campaigns

ID-100175980It’s great to understand your audience and the personas of your target market. It’s equally important to know how these audiences interact and make sure that an agenda to engage one group does not alienate another target group. As marketing campaigns are planned, it’s important to identify which channels might cross audiences and ensure that the messaging to one audience is not counterproductive to another.

Marketing is often looked at as a means of generating leads or sales, and for the most part that covers it. Every so often, however, marketing is consulted on other business facets like recruiting. Recently a CEO of a client launched a presence on LinkedIn via the marketing department to support an HR agenda to attract millennials to the company. This agenda was initiated because there was a number of technology openings within the company that HR felt millennials would be better suited to perform.

So the CEO launched several LinkedIn posts about how valuable millennials could be to a company and why he thought it was critical to current companies’ future to bring them on board. The LinkedIn posts garnered some interest and HR was pleased to see an increase in application for their open technology positions.

To further promote the CEO’s presence on LinkedIn, an internal communication was sent asking employees to follow the CEO’s posts. Many of the employees did so and were greeted with the CEOs recent posts. The problem was that many of the employees were not millennials and felt the articles were dismissive of the contributions other generations could and had made to the company.

Marketing had to deal with comments on LinkedIn from current employees that felt marginalized .HR had to do damage control for current employees that took exception to the content. To further diminish the productivity of the campaign, the CEO had no plans of continually doing posts so the original three articles became an obvious self-serving attempt at boosting recruiting rather than a valuable commentary on business development. The lack of ongoing quality content for the targeted audience meant that followers dwindled or disappeared.

While this example has as much to do with HR as it does with marketing, it’s a great example of how marketing agendas can backfire when channels cause them to cross audiences. This is especially true for web content or social media posts which make the content available to anyone who finds it. Even channels like email that make it possible to restrict access to a target group still have cross audience capabilities via forwards and replies.

It’s best to review any marketing campaigns from the perspective of your unique audiences. If you find that particular communications are dismissive or alienating to a different target audience, it’s worth restructuring the campaign to be more inclusive.


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Email Marketing: An Email is Not a Website

Each email in a marketing campaign should have a singular purpose and drive toward that singular purpose. That’s not to say that there might not be a secondary or tertiary focus, but there should not be confusion on the primary thing that the email is offering the audience. There definitely should not be ancillary information thrown in with no discernible purpose.

I write this article after receiving an offer for a free eBook. That’s an easily digestible primary purpose. A quick scan of the email lets me see an image of the eBook and some teaser copy to draw me in to the content. But then I attempt to take the next step . . .

There are links to the company’s about us website page, services page, media page, and contact us page strewn across the top of the email in a tab layout. Not one of those will take me to the offer I’m interested in. There is a bio about the person sending the eBook offer at the bottom of the email. Oddly this bio is not about the author of the eBook but a bio of the sender that is associated with the same organization as the author. Basically it’s a bio that has nothing to do with the eBook. There is a text link in the body that takes me to the sender’s homepage but there no information on the homepage about the eBook.

So I come up empty in my scanning. Let me be clear that in almost every case this email would have been deleted and I would have moved on. It was my curiosity at how this email completely failed to keep its focus that spurred me to really dig into it. It turned out that the banner image just under all the tabs would take me to the landing page. Most confusing about that is that seventy-five percent of the banner was text with no clear visual tip that it was a clickable image.

This email was designed to function as a website with almost all the content from the website clickable from one spot.

Emails are not websites and in many ways that’s a great thing. Websites need to have a page for all your possible audiences that arrive there. Hence a navigation structure to find the desired content. An email has the advantage of a single focus to promote one call to action. That simplicity can make it much more focused and appealing to the audience because they can make a yes or no decision on whether they want what is offered. Since the focus is on that one thing it’s easy for them to access it. If that call to action does not resonate with an individual then the following emails in the campaign have the opportunity to do so.

Don’t try to fit everything you do or offer into a single email. It will distract from your call to action and doesn’t bring a meaningful advantage.