Which Channels Do Marketers Find Best for Reaching Top Target Audiences?

August 5, 2020

PFL Top Channels Reaching Target Audiences Jul2020There are many factors to take into account when striving for a successful multichannel campaign, but in attempting to reach a specific target audience, certain channels appear better placed than others. A recent report [download page] from PFL and Demand Metric on multichannel marketing explores the overall effectiveness of a range of channels, as well as effectiveness specific to the most frequently targeted B2B audiences.

Overall Effectiveness

In the survey of more than 580 professionals, fielded May through June 2020, events appeared atop the list with 82% of respondents labeling this channel as effective or very effective at reaching target audiences. (Physical events are now largely transitioning to virtual ones, of course.) An equal share said the same about integrated, branded and personalized direct mail (82%), with outbound BDR/SDR (71%), email (70%), standard direct mail (69%) and content syndication also proving effective or very effective to many.

A smaller majority thought that display advertising/re-marketing (63%), search marketing/PPC (63%) and social media marketing (58%) were effective or very effective for these purposes.

Who Are The Most Frequently Targeted Audiences?

For the survey’s respondents, the C-Suite or Executive audience was the most frequently targeted in multichannel campaigns (55%). This was followed by the end-user (49%), the technical audience (37%), the sales/marketing audience (32%) and the financial/purchasing audience (30%).

Here are the channels perceived to be the most effective way to reach each of these targeted audiences:

The C-Suite

With the lowest average effectiveness rating of any audience (52%), the C-Suite is infamously the hardest to reach. But the best bet for those willing to try is direct mail, per the report, with three-quarters (75%) of respondents saying this medium reaches the C-Suite audience well or very well. Other channels with above-average effectiveness include events (71%) and email (56%).

Separately, given a range of options, the largest share of respondents (42%) reported that messages triggered based on specific needs within a target account have proven best at reaching members of the C-Suite. This is the only audience that respondents believed wasn’t best reached by frequent messages on a regular basis.

The End-User

There are a number of channels with above-average perceived effectiveness at reaching this end-user group, but events top the list, with 8 in 10 (81%) respondents claiming that they reach this audience well or very well. Content syndication (79%), direct mail (77%), email (76%) and outbound BDR/SDR (76%) all also have reportedly high effectiveness ratings.

While each of the target audiences in question is reportedly best reached by frequent messages on a regular basis, respondents were particularly confident that this is the case for the end-user.

The Technical Audience

Content syndication is the best way to reach this audience, according to the study, with nearly 9 in 10 (86%) reporting that it reaches the technical audience well or very well. A similar share (83%) think that events are effective at reaching this audience, with direct mail (75%), email (74%) and outbound BDR SDR (68%) also carrying relatively high effectiveness ratings.

The Sales/Marketing Audience

As with the technical audience, content syndication is the best way to reach the sales/marketing audience (86%) in the eyes of this study’s respondents. Indeed, the latter continues to echo the former in its next-most effective channels, events (82%) and direct mail (74%), with display advertising making a unique appearance (74%) ahead of outbound BDR/SDR (73%).

Notably, 3 in 10 respondents think that messages sent via an automation process based on campaign flow are the best way to reach the sales/marketing audience.

The Financial/Purchasing Audience

This audience has the second-lowest average effectiveness rating (60%) and is, therefore, the second most difficult to reach – but, like several other more accessible audiences, content syndication is reportedly the best way to reach this audience (67%). This is followed by events (66%), email (65%), outbound BDR/SDR (63%) and direct mail (59%).

Read the full report here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a May-June 2020 survey of 589 respondents (majority marketers) from a variety of industries and company sizes.


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