By Andrew Angus on April 13, 2015

Narrowcasting, Switch Video

Let’s say you’ve created an e​-book to explain to buyers how to use a marketing platform. You put a lot of work into it. You interviewed thought leaders, the graphics team came up with a spiffy design, and you’ve spent weeks writing and editing the content. It’s great. You upload it and wait. But no one’s biting. What’s the problem? It’s too general. In trying to create something for everyone, you’d inadvertently created something no one wants.

Why doesn’t this work? Because different companies are likely to have unique needs for your product. Instead of aiming your content at everyone, develop content aimed at specific groups. The one to many approach in marketing is over. Instead, companies need to aim marketing content at smaller groups. This approach is known as narrowcasting. Think about that word for a second. It’s related to broadcast – a term that refers to sending one message out to many people. Broadcast is about obtaining as wide a reach as possible. Narrowcasting is different. It means sending a message to a specifically chosen group.

This way, buyers are more likely to see the campaign and see themselves purchasing the products and services being advertised.

How Does Narrowcasting Work?

The short answer is: segmentation. Use the data you have about your customers to divide them into smaller groups and then target them specifically. In an interview with Content Marketing Institute, Mark Wilson of Avaya talked about how he used narrowcasting to reach his audience more effectively. To Wilson, a narrowcasting audience is no larger than about 10,000 people. His example? Financial firms.

Financial firms often have different needs than other businesses. They deal with regulations other industries aren’t subjected to. A marketing platform used by the financial industry would likely be used very differently than in any other sector.

Wilson talked about how finance was one of Avaya’s target markets. He knew he wanted to target this industry separately, but wasn’t sure how to go about it. When looking into this segment, he realized that financial institutions have something in common: location. Globally, financial firms tend to be in one of three places: New York City, London, and Tokyo.

Wilson focused on New York and began to target financial companies hard. He placed ads in the publications they read, placed ads near their buildings and completed the campaign with digital content, such as newsletters, guides, and e​-books focused on this group.

Another reason that narrowcasting is such a powerful tool is by nurturing existing accounts. An example of this in action is the digital document and transaction service provider DocuSign, which recognized it needed a way to reconnect with inactive customers. Instead of attempting to re-engage every single account that had gone quiet, the company isolated those that hadn’t responded to their online marketing campaigns for more than two months. As a result of this targeted approach, previously silent accounts showed 29 percent growth in activity. So, narrowcasting isn’t limited to acquisition and can prove very useful in reigniting the interests of existing buyers.

Narrowcasting With Video

Marketers can accomplish narrowcasting with video too. In fact, video can be one of the most effective tools for narrowcasting because of the format. Think about the general approach of an explainer video. The most effective explainers tell a story using a character and situation that viewers identify with, generally introducing a pain point the product or service can help to solve. The animated character operates as a stand in for the potential buyer. The buyer, when watching the situation, identifies with the persona on screen because she has experienced similar problems.

There are other ways to accomplish this as well. For instance, with personalized video, you could create a more general template and fill in different details for specific industries, in addition to unique names and businesses. By doing so, the template can be applied in multiple contexts, which gives you more time to exercise your creative freedom with the content of the video. This way, you could make your narrowcasting not only targeted to specific industries, but to specific companies as well. Buyers within a specific segment may have similar pain points, but deserve – and will respond better to – nuanced campaigns.

Takeaways

Narrowcasting works because all companies are different. While marketing to a more general audience may pique a potential buyer’s interest, it won’t drive them to action like a piece of content that speaks to their specific needs will. Video is effective for narrowcasting because explainer videos are designed around character personas that can change based on the industry being targeted.

 

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