What is Targeting?

Targeting is the ability for your group or organisation to focus its direct mail campaign on certain sections of your "audience" or database.

Your group's ability to target its mail-outs can directly impact on their effectiveness, and the types and rates of response they receive.

Why is Targeting Beneficial for a Community Group?

Targeting your group's direct mail-outs results in a number of positives:
  • It produces a more concentrated and focussed message to either a single segment or multiple segments of your database.
  • These more focussed messages are likely to be more relevant to recipients.
  • Also, these focussed messages are likely to get a better response, or bigger response rate, than more generic ones.
  • You can ultimately target the segments which respond best to your direct mail with special mail-outs or campaigns, increasing their benefit to your group as members, donors, fundraisers or volunteers.
  • It increases your group's ability to either raise money through specially-targeted campaigns, or save money through cutting down on mail-outs to those who are outside your target audience for that mail-out.
  • You can have a clearer and better understanding of the characteristics of people or segments you are direct mailing through targeting. This means you could use that information to attract new members, donors, supporters or sponsors that match those characteristics.

Things to Remember When Using Targeting

  • Data is at the heart of direct mail, and an effective targeting exercise. Data is a raw ingredient – refining that raw ingredient and making it work for you is the aim of a tool like targeting.
    • But as a top chef will tell you, the best raw ingredients make for the best end product. This is true also when undertaking a targeting exercise.
    • If your raw data is good – comprehensive, accurate and wide-ranging – then your targeting work based on that data will be of higher quality, and will produce better results.
    • Use targeting to your advantage – for example, the next time you send out an offer, target it at the people who responded last time, or who share characteristics with these people.
    • Related to that is the idea of always looking for pattens of response when segmenting and then targeting parts of your contact list.
      • Past behaviour can be a guide to future behaviour, and if you have something that has always appealed to a certain segment of your contact list, then keep targeting that segment with it!
    • And remember, as you run more direct mail-outs, your targeting should get better and better – and therefore the results you will get will improve as well.

    Remember to Prepare

    The preparation work to most effectively target your direct mail-out is achieved by doing some profiling and segmentation of your database beforehand.

    The amount of lead-up work your group or organisation does can directly impact on the effectiveness and preciseness of the targeting your group can do.

    For more information on profiling and segmentation, refer to the help sheets:
    All of which are available at the Media & Marketing Centre on the Our Community website.

    For more information on how to target, as well as some examples, refer to the How to Target help sheet, available by clicking on the previous link.