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The Privilege of Marketing Access
By Darren Sextro, Vice President, Sales
One thing that most of our client-partners have in common is that they hold the key to something valuable: audiences to which others want access. In a world that now hinges on targeted reach, it’s not an advantage to overlook, nor is it one to undervalue.
The very best marketing, or at least the most common marketing, now seeks quality and not necessarily quantity. Total numbers are nice, yes, but they rarely trump the power of an audience that has in some way pre-qualified itself for some type of behavior.
So if you’re a gatekeeper to one of those audiences, step back for a moment and take pride in what you have. For example, one of our clients, a leading medical association, produces the very best research in a particular specialty, then delivers that research throughout the year in a series of smartly produced educational meetings, some of which include exhibit floors. When a marketer begins to question the value of reaching the audiences at these meetings and on these exhibit floors, I sometimes want to bluntly ask, “Are you kidding me? Given the option to connect with influencers who pay to be part of this association, believe in this level of research and education, invest in these meetings and very likely are already at least somewhat aware of your brand, you are still questioning the potential return on your investment?”
Yes, “return on investment.” It’s a phrase that’s legitimate but frustrating because of how anonymous these audiences want to remain and how immeasurable is the path between brand outreach and a final transaction. Market research firm Baxter Research Center posits that marketers should actually be measuring the return on four “intermediate objectives”: exposure and engagement, audience involvement, preliminary buying behavior and active buying behavior.
And there’s no more direct way to get to these intermediate objectives than access to a pre-qualified audience. Exhibiting at a meeting or trade show, advertising in a membership publication or digital platform — these are unique opportunities to gain access to an audience that exhibits all of the behaviors of engagement.