Mythbuster: Reach is still paramount

Les Binet and Sarah Carter

Les Binet and Sarah Carter of DDB get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them... like the idea that reach doesn't matter.

A while back, we found ourselves in the pub. A digital planner was talking about her latest campaign, and we asked how many people it reached. "Reach?" she sneered, "it's not about reach any more."

Grrrr... Her Kronenbourg-fuelled outburst betrayed an all too common point-of-view now. In the old days, goes the argument, you needed big audiences. These days, our communications are more finely targeted, more interactive, more engaging. Reach no longer matters.

It's a seductive idea. Agencies like it, because it allows them to experiment. Clients like it, because it appears to save money. Unfortunately, it's just a pipe dream.

Logically, there are only two ways to get a big payback from a small audience. Either you get them to spend a lot. Or they must encourage others to do so. Neither is a sure-fire route to success.