Promotions can be categorized based on the intended coverage of a single promotional message. For instance, a single television advertisement for a major sporting event, such as the Super Bowl, World Cup or Olympics, could be seen by millions of viewers at the same time. Such mass promotion, intended to reach as many people as possible, has been a mainstay of marketers’ promotional efforts for a long time.
Unfortunately, while mass promotions are delivered to a large number of people, the actual number that fall within the marketer’s target market may be small. Because of this, many who use mass promotion techniques find it to be an inefficient way to reach desired customers. Instead, today’s marketers are turning to newer techniques designed to focus promotional delivery to only those with a high probability of being in the marketer’s target market. For example, Google, Yahoo and other Internet search engines employ methods for delivering highly targeted ads to customers as they enter search terms. The assumption made by advertisers is that customers who enter search terms are interested in the information they have entered, especially if they are searching by entering detailed search strings (e.g., phrases rather than a single word). Following this logic, advertisers are much more likely to have their ads displayed to customers within their target market and, thus, receive a higher return on their promotional investment. The movement to highly targeted promotions has gained tremendous traction in recent years and, as new and improved targeting methods are introduced, its importance will continue to grow.