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May 12, 2008
Mass to Singular Marketing: Determining the Best Medium

One of the great things about our industry is the nearly limitless opportunities to reach the marketplace.

While there is a lot of over-hype over emerging new media technologies, the one thing for sure is that those innovations are driving more opportunities for our industry. Combined with the traditional marketing communications vehicles like advertising and public relations, new technologies are expanding the ways we can communicate to the marketplace. I’m talking about technologies that set the groundwork for blogs and social and business networks, and the opportunities presented for mobile marketing.

With the growing opportunities in marketing communications, there’s more than ample opportunity for us to become generalists and knowledgeable about a range of marketing communication vehicles, or specialists and focus on one or two areas.

No matter what career path we pick – or what opportunities present themselves – there is one absolute:

To best serve your clients or employer, you need to know how to reach the marketplace via the medium or media that best meets its and your clients or employer’s needs.

The message, of course, varies depending what you want to accomplish. And, sometimes, the medium drives the message in length, tone or content.


Unfortunately, as an industry, it is often difficult to shed our old beliefs and open up to new technologies and how those technologies can dictate the message. It seems many are too focused on our mass marketing and mass communication roots. While the strategies behind mass communication tactics can be valid for the right campaign, you cannot apply them all the time.

Below, I have outlined four categories of marketing communications. The difference in each is how well you know or can identify your targeted marketplace recipients. Have a look and leave a comment, compliment or criticism about how I’ve divided up marketing communications, or other ways to slice and dice our industry.

Mass Marketing: You’re just trying to reach a whole lot of people. Communication may be targeted by geography, industry, job, etc., but you will more often than reach people you don’t need to. The message is the same for each tactic. Examples are media relations; some social media marketing; and offline and online advertising such as in print, radio and TV, banners and search engine marketing.

Captured Marketing: You have a better idea of exactly who your audience is – often by job title, geography and even by name. As with mass marketing, the message is usually the same, but is more targeted because you better know whom you are trying to reach. Examples include trade show marketing, and organizing events.

Concentrated Marketing: Like the above, you may still be sending a blanket message, but you know specifically to whom you are going after – often by name – and the message is better tailored to the recipients. Examples include direct mail and email marketing.

Singular Marketing: You definitely know to whom you are communicating – by name, other identifier like email, telephone number and/or geographic location, and the message is specifically tailored to the recipient. It is very personal, very targeted marketing. Examples include mobile marketing – where users opt-in to receive communications based on their location and other preferences – and Website visits (think Amazon where your preferences and past purchases are remembered and new items are suggested).

The greatest message – text or graphic – can be futile if it is not properly communicated to your audience. How well you know who your audience is and how best to reach them is half of the battle.

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Michael  Driehorst, president and founder of Diamond Communications, is a proven public relations professional who knows how to develop the right set of strategies and matching tactics to achieve communication objectives for the right target audience. After an early career as a newspaper journalist, Mike has worked in public relations and marketing communications since 1994. He has been active in social media marketing since 2005; read his blog.

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