Serious question.

Are you selling something you’d like most people to buy? Like food? Toilet paper? Furniture?

If so, it’s probably a good idea to take a closer look at your marketing mix. Does it have ultimate reach? If you are selling something you want most people to buy…but excluding too many people by overlooking less-populated geographies and overusing digital media to reach your audiences, you may be setting yourself up for trouble ahead.

We’ve seen it happen time and time again and we think it’s time for a “walk towards the light” conversation about your marketing mix – what you can do better, and how you can foster others’ confidence in your future campaigns.

“Urban” Consumers Alone are Not Your Bread and Butter

They don’t even buy as much bread and butter. It’s true – rural households are 1 percent more likely to purchase bread and 3 percent more likely to purchase butter than their urban counterparts.

And yet many marketers only focus on tightly grouped, densely located consumers and neglect to capture people outside of that profile.

The reality is that 46% of American spending power is located outside major metro areas. In fact, people outside of major cities have more discretionary spending money than their urban counterparts. Leaving their money on the table is a huge missed opportunity for marketers.

Smart solution to build confidence: Acknowledge that while a hip urban food delivery company may be limited to urban and metro markets, you’re not them. You can be far more strategic with your targeting and spread your reach in the millions of nooks and crannies of this country. We recommend expanding your understanding of what different geographies may offer, and what hidden populations may be waiting to hear from you. Our consumer analytics team specializes in looking into the data with our customers, helping them to identify the opportunities they are missing and how targeting can help them increase their advertising ROI.

Relying Too Heavily on Digital Media Can Get You Nowhere – Fast

It’s easy to assume digital media has the upper hand when compared to traditional media, such as direct mail.

It’s fast and easy to launch. Offers targeting options. Easy to tweak on the fly. Easy to track. What’s not to love?

We’re fans of digital media too; the fact you’re reading this article is proof that digital media gets noticed. But just because it’s fast, easy to launch, offers targeting options, easy to tweak on the fly, and easy to track doesn’t mean it’s where your focus needs to be. If you put too much of your focus on digital and it fails, you’re nowhere fast.

Another thing to consider, related to the first section on targeting areas outside metro areas, is that digital connectivity is often spottier outside these less populated areas, making it a challenge to reach certain consumers with digital media. However, while broadband is less ubiquitous, mobile/wireless devices are used heavily, especially by millennials, to stay connected in less dense geographic areas.

Smart solution to build confidence: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Meet each buyer where they are today – don’t rely on digital/online media as the primary means of promoting your products and services, since those who live outside of the major metros are 56% more influenced by direct mail than any kind of digital advertising.

Not Everyone Thinks, Behaves, or Buys Like Urban Consumers

If you’re interested in reaching the 46% of American spending power located outside urban areas, you can’t assume these buyers are going to respond to the same messaging you send out to urban consumers.

They have different demographics, psychographics, and levels of technology access – leading to different priorities and considerations for the marketer.

Since most marketers are familiar with their urban consumers, let’s look at a few examples on how rural consumers differ:

  • Rural buyers are more savings/cost oriented. They will switch brands if they find a better deal.
  • Rural buyers are more community and trust oriented. They prefer to buy local or “made in the USA.”
  • Rural buyers are oriented around their homes and family and are often entrepreneurial.

Smart solution to build confidence: Targeting rural buyers who are savings/cost focused is easy. One way is to present promotions on a regular (weekly/monthly) basis to avoid losing customers to a better competitive offer. Expect switching and focus your message around value not brand.

For community-oriented buyers, use marketing tools and messaging that establishes your business as part of the local community, and use personalization where possible to connect more deeply.

And for buyers who are entrepreneurial, family-oriented, or enjoy being homeowners, be sure your marketing messages –both visual and text – resonate with each type of buyer profile. Allowing them to “see” themselves in your ads is key. Matching the demographics of a household to the image on the postcard increases response by 57%.

Break Out of the Bubble

The biggest trap marketers fall into is assuming too much about what an ideal target audience looks like and how they respond to different types of media.

Since email marketing first arrived on the scene, marketers have assumed direct mail was going the way of the dinosaur. Brands would drop their direct mail spending, move it into digital only to come back a year or less than a year later to the print campaigns that were working.

Today it’s not a matter of “how much of my direct mail budget can I cut to use on other things.” It’s about using data to make intelligent decisions around your targeting and messaging and then crafting a campaign using technology and the best media tools in your arsenal – including direct mail.

Average direct mail response rates are currently at 5% for a prospect list and 9% for a house list. Email, paid search, online display, and social media were 1% or less. That’s not to say digital media isn’t effective – it has its own advantages. But the best strategies use a mix of direct mail and digital – where they complement each other to get the job done. Don’t let a failed all-digital approach erode the confidence others have in your marketing program.

We’re here to help you break out of the bubble and use data-powered precision targeting to reach more customers in more areas using the right messaging every time. If you’re interested in learning more about building a marketing mix with ultimate reach, check out our eBook.

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Sources:
NHCS Adult Study 2018
United State Bureau of Labor Statistics
Prosper Insights & Analytics 2018
CMO.com
Data & Marketing Association 2018

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