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Is audience or offer more important?

A solid advertising campaign requires that marketers identify their target audience and develop an irresistible offer. Our experts discuss which element is more crucial to success.

John Foley
President/CEO InterlinkOne Inc.
More than 10 years of experience in digital advertising

The best way to achieve marketing success is targeting the ideal audience. Even the greatest campaign can fall flat if it is aimed at someone who is just not interested in what you have to offer.

Instead of spending your budget and time sending a great offer to anyone and everyone on your list, take the time to refine the list and tailor your message. Make sure your marketing communication is reaching someone who finds it relevant.

Marketers can connect with a prospect immediately by customizing a direct mail piece to include text, pic­tures and offers that will appeal to that individual. Sending a mailer with your contact’s name, personalized images, and even their own personalized Web site — a PURL — engages your audi­ence because they believe the materials were planned just for them. The actual offer then has value because it is based on what you know will get your audi­ence’s attention.

Most winning campaigns boil down to the 60-30-10 marketing rule — 60% of a campaign’s success depends on sending the message to the right audi­ence, 30% depends on crafting the best offer for this audience, and 10% depends on the creative aspects of the campaign. If you’re spending your mar­keting budget and not seeing results, you may simply be casting too wide a net. Bringing more precision to the audience targeting process can make all the difference in the results.

Alissa Stakgold
SVP, Quigley-Simpson
13 years experience in advertising and marketing

Offers make or break every cam­paign. With the audience as a control, we’ve all seen how even one adjust­ment to an element of the offer can turn a loser into a winner.

Audiences will self-select based on how enticing the offer is. Best practices demand that we test and retest offers or elements of offers that we believe will move the needle. In my own experi­ence, I’ve seen many tactics applied to offers that yielded incredible changes in results, all while the audience targeted remained static.

Offer building starts at the top. It’s critical to build the perceived value of the product being sold. Many market­ers try to load offers with lots of little extras that don’t enhance the inherent value of the product. Once you’ve established the product’s value, you can enhance the value of the offer.

Most successful offers use premiums that add a halo to the value of the main product. Another tactic is removing barriers to trial — for example, offering risk-free trials or free shipping.

Exclusivity is critical. It creates urgency, reinforces perceived value and differentiates the offer from other deals. Constraints such as limited time offers are also incentives to act now.

No matter how well you target a potential audience, your target will not take action without the right offer. Smartly layering the components to cre­ate value will drive response.


Foley and Stakgold offer completely different perspectives; however, both ultimately make compelling cases for doing a great deal of homework before going public with an advertising campaign. It clearly would be a mistake to launch a campaign with half-baked or incomplete information about your audience, or inadequate testing of the offer.

Have your say E-mail your view to [email protected]

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