narrowcasting television broadcasting

Marketing that strives to speak to everyone often falls on deaf ears. Instead of reaching an incredibly broad audience, the ads often don’t reach anyone – at least not in a meaningful way.

What is “Narrowcasting”?

Failure to narrow their audience has been the downfall of countless brands, often considered a rookie mistake by the marketplace’s major players. Let’s call this misguided approach “broadcasting.” And in contrast, we’ll assign the term “narrowcasting” to the kind of personalized, targeted strategy we’ve adopted at Motivated Marketing.

The Benefits of Narrowcasting

  • Lower Cost

On a tight budget? Narrowcasting can be a money-saver! Unlike broadcasting, which sends out a signal to a wide area, narrowcasting sends out a signal to a more specific, restricted area. This makes things easier, plus it is usually cheaper than broadcasting.

  • Tailored approach. 

Narrowcasting is all about pinpointing certain groups and audiences. This lets you dedicate more time to studying and comprehending the people you’re targeting. As a result, you can use this knowledge to your advantage.

  • Wide range of formats. 

You’ll never run short of ideas for getting your message out there, no matter what platform you decide to use. From podcasts to emails, television to social media, the options are seemingly limitless. So, if you’re looking to narrowcast, you won’t be without choices.

Now, to be clear, broadcasting in terms of television advertising can be incredibly effective for some brands. In fact, we recommend it to a number of our clients, relying on our media buying team to choose the channels and time slots that ensure the right folks are watching. The “broadcasting” we’re discouraging here doesn’t necessarily appear on a TV screen – and fails because it ignores a brand’s audience altogether.

While some old-school marketers still cling to the notion that “broadcasting” is the best way to get their message heard by the masses, research proves that tailoring a message to a specific group of consumers is far more effective. One study found that 79% of consumers claimed they were only likely to use a brand’s promotions if they were catered to previous interactions. 40% of U.S. shoppers reported spending more than they planned because of personalized service.

“Narrowcasting” not only drives purchases but encourages interaction between brands and consumers. Think of that time your favorite store sent a birthday card with a special discount, whether it was in the mailbox at the end of your drive way or on your desktop. Or recall the time you spotted a digital ad for a car you’d recently researched. Both instances are examples of one-to-one marketing, the very essence of “narrowcasting.”

This method also opens the door for feedback, that when utilized properly, shapes an ever-improving consumer experience. It’s no big secret that consumers want to feel that their concerns are acknowledged and that they’re communicating with a single person instead of a faceless corporation. That’s precisely why “narrowcasting” works. It customizes a purchase path where one brand speaks to one consumer – and this path often leads straight to brand loyalty.

Examples of Narrowcasting

  • Displaying streaming platform ads on ticket stub or popcorn bag of a movie theater
  • Displaying mobile phone parental lock ads in a pediatrician office 
  • Displaying loyalty program on shopping bags at grocery store
  • Displaying hunting gear clothing brand in a gun shop

Popular Narrowcasting Methods

Here are 4 of the most popular narrowcasting methods available to help market to a very specific audience:

  • Social media, such as YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, TikTok and Instagram, are incredibly popular with the younger generation, making it a great option for marketing any tech-related product that has a younger audience. 
  • Television and radio may have seen a downwards trend in popularity, but when used properly, these platforms can reach a large number of people. 
  • Email marketing is an incredibly cost-effective and efficient way to reach people. Furthermore, people can easily sign up for newsletters to keep up to date with your company.
  • Podcasts have become increasingly popular in recent years and can provide a great opportunity for sponsorship. 

Other narrowcasting examples include:

  • Customer messaging includes things like menu boards, sales promos, and loyalty program materials. 
  • Employee messaging can involve managing meeting rooms, recognizing employees, and displaying key performance indicators (KPIs) on dashboards.
  • Visitor messaging should include welcoming messages, emergency alerts, safety reminders, and wayfinding. 
  • Educational messaging should involve training, RSS feeds, and digital information boards/displayed class schedules. 

It’s important to consider the environment and screen location when selecting an audience. For instance, Point of Sale (POS) in a retail or restaurant or a Point of Wait (POW) in places like offices, hospitals, hotels, and cultural organizations should be carefully thought out to reach an audience optimally.

What’s the Difference Between Narrowcasting and Broadcasting?


Understanding the difference between broadcasting and narrowcasting can be a bit confusing. Broadcasts are a form of mass marketing that appeals to a wide audience, while narrowcasting is much more specific. Narrowcasting is digital signage that delivers customized media messages to a specific audience. This allows for highly targeted campaigns with content that is tailored to the viewers, as opposed to a more general broadcast that is sent to everyone.


How to Get the Best ROI with Narrowcasting?

Making the most of narrowcasting is key to a successful marketing program. By utilizing data strategically, businesses can make sure that the right content is being seen by the right people at the right time. Here are a few important components to consider when planning your digital signage solution:

  • Define Your Target Audience: Prior to launching a narrowcasting campaign, it’s essential to determine who the target group is. Businesses must answer questions such as: “Who am I trying to reach? What do we know about them? What do they find interesting?” Answers to these queries can help tailor content to the target group’s interests. With this knowledge, businesses can ensure their content is relevant and engaging.
  • Adjust Narrowcasting content accordingly: Digital signage can be a great tool to increase sales, but it’s key not to go overboard with promotional content. Otherwise, it could have a negative effect on customer engagement and the overall experience. The key is to hit a happy medium between sales-oriented material and informational posts. For instance, in retail stores, combining local news with the local weather report is a great way to draw people in, while also keeping promotional material to a minimum.
  • Determine the Placement and Programming: It’s important to think carefully about where you are placing your digital signs and what content you are displaying. For example, if customers have to wait two minutes at a point of sale, it won’t be effective to show them something five minutes long. The same goes for longer waiting times – if the content is too short and keeps looping, customers could switch off from it. So, it’s essential to make sure you get the placement and programming right.
  • Utilize Audience Analytics: Undoubtedly, Analytics is the best way to measure the success of narrowcasting. This lets us get the answers to important questions, such as: “How powerful is my digital display? How many people have seen my message? Among them, how many were the target audience I was aiming for?” By using analytics, we can gain a better understanding of the effectiveness of our narrowcasting.


Interested? Motivated Marketing Can Help with Narrowcasting

m2 motivated marketing company logo for charleston marketing agency

As consumer trends shift, marketers must accept that shoppers aren’t solely choosing brands by product and price, but by the overall experience that’s promised. Of marketers who have embraced this new reality, 88% reported measurable improvements thanks to personalization.

M2 falls into this category of creative agencies that recognize the importance of one-to-one marketing. We help our clients hone in on their audience, then choose a specific method of distribution to deliver a specific message to a specific consumer. In business to business interactions, this is referred to as account-based marketing, or ABM. It utilizes the same one-to-one approach, proving that whether it’s one brand to one consumer or one business to another, customization counts.

Want to learn more about our branding philosophy or put our experience to work for your brand? We welcome discussing our advertising services and portfolio of satisfied automobile, healthcare and legal clients with you. Get in touch with us today!

Learn more about each of our main verticals here:

And check out the A-to-Z comprehensive marketing services we provide:

To consult a marketing specialist, contact us today! Feel free to shoot us a message or call 843-856-7322. So, let’s simply start by talking strategy, it’s FREE.