Monday, July 31, 2006

Greer's OC: A Fashionable Micromedia Site

Greer's OC is a great example of an effective consumer marketing micromedia site. Former fashion columnist Greer Wylder targets her content to, and delivers for her advertisers, a very narrow but lucrative and otherwise difficult to reach audience: upscale shoppers, primarily female, in the Orange County, California area.

For Hugh Hewitt to call Greer's OC an advertising revolution and a mortal threat to newspapers isn't off the mark. Newspaper subscriptions are declining. TiVo and XM are killing the value of media advertising. Mega-portals like Yahoo that try to be all things to all people end up being of little value to anyone. People will flock, however, in small but targeted numbers, to sites and media that focus specifically on topics that fascinate them.

So what exactly do I mean by "micromedia"? Micromedia is any form of media targeted to an individual or group of individuals that can be can be defined by a set of unique characteristics. It is much narrower than untargeted mass media, but it encompasses and is somewhat broader than one-to-one marketing. While targeted direct mail is clearly form of micromedia, and advertising during the Super Bowl is clearly not, the boundaries of what constitutes micromedia are somewhat fuzzy.

Micromedia is not to be confused with software company Macromedia, or with specific companies like this Canadian firm which focus on library resources for the elementary school market, or this commercial Unix project.

Micromedia can take a wide variety of forms.

Most blogs are a form of micromedia. Content-based ad networks are close, because those ads are most likely to be viewed by people within a distinct target market.

Targeted email and advertising in narrowly-targeted industry e-newsletters are micromedia; the audience is self-selected and virtually guaranteed to have a high degree of common characteristics.

TV is generally not a form of micromedia; even companies advertising Medi-gap insurance on reruns of Matlock end up with a lot of wasted coverage. However, advertising on the Golf Channel arguably qualifies, because both the demographic and the interest are pretty narrowly qualified.

Similarly, radio advertising is generally not micromedia; even Kim Komando's radio show draws too diverse an audience to qualify.

Billboard advertising is also normally not a form of micromedia, though it can be. For example, advertising an insurance or financial product specifically for employees of General Motors, near the entrance to one of their facilities, would qualify.

Targeted direct mail is among the oldest forms of micromedia, thought mailbox clutter is rendering it increasingly less effective.

With the explosion in electronic media choice, mass marketing is becoming more difficult and expensive. However, there are more opportunities than ever for marketers to use micromedia to deliver carefully-crafted messages of real value to specific demographic or business sub-markets. The key is to know your customers well, so that you can know your prospects well -- what do they care about, what do they need, and what will compel them to act.


Terms: Greer's OC, Hugh Hewitt, micromedia, one to one marketing, targeted media

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