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March 31, 2014
Bigger Nets Aren't Always Better
 
Imagine being a fisherman. Your goal is to catch as many fish as possible. You have a decision to make; do you use bigger nets, or do you pick the best location — the location you know where the most fish may be?

The question posed above is the same question marketers and advertisers ask themselves every day. When do we use multiple advertising channels (nets) versus spending time and energy finding and targeting our audiences?

In our humble opinion, it seems easier to cast bigger nets. In the digital advertising landscape, and even for TV, putting a message out there as much as possible is simple to do. But it may not bear much fruit. Like a fisherman casting a huge net, they may get some good fish, but they may have to spend time taking out the garbage and other things they have caught. Likewise for marketers, casting a message for everyone may be easy, but we may be wasting time on people who will never buy our product, and people who are simply not our audience.

If the net isn't the answer, then perhaps targeting our audience would be more beneficial. Indeed, knowing where your audience — your fish — will be located can help you save money, time, and resources. The amount of people you gather might not be as many with the larger message, but each individual one is more valuable. There is less trash you have to throw away. 

So, like fishermen, let us continue targeting our audience. A big net doesn't mean a successful catch. We must always look for where our fish are going to be.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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