Inclusive vs Exclusive


(By Bob McCurdy) I never quite thought of it in such an elemental fashion before, but it’s a marketing fact that any auto dealership, retailer, or any brand that currently has a 10 share of market and wants to maintain that 10 share, needs to not only “close” 10% of those currently purchasing the category, but also 10% of all new-to-category buyers as well. If not, bye-bye 10 share.

Advertisers who are inordinately focused on current customers and category buyers from a marketing standpoint, hem themselves into a continuously shrinking pool of prospects, due to ever-evolving purchasing habits brought about by changing personal and professional circumstances — retirement, relocation, unemployment, marriage, divorce, etc.

This suggests that a more “inclusive” marketing approach is likely the most effective way to maintain or grow market share for one key reason: less “inclusive” advertising will often exclude these new-to-category consumers, while “inclusive” advertising will not.

Reflect upon your own shopping habits or even your current account list. Are you purchasing the same products and frequenting the same retailers that you did two or three years ago, purchasing at the same volume, at the same frequency? Are your key clients today the same as in years past? As salespeople, we know attrition happens, so we must also always be prospecting. Same with advertising. “Inclusive” advertising is to a retailer or brand what prospecting is to a productive, successful salesperson.

Making a case for more “inclusive” marketing is not difficult. Any business that has had little to no previous interaction with new-to-category buyers will be starting from advertising “ground zero” when these consumers enter the category, and that is a short and long-term kiss of death to both revenue and share stability.

Imagine that before your first child was born, you had rarely or never been exposed to diaper commercials. Some hyper-targeting zealots might say, “Why should you have been, you had no kids.” But for sake of example, let’s say there was one marketer that had the good sense to advertise “inclusively.”

On the first trip to the grocery store to load up, which brand stands the better chance of landing in your cart? Most likely it’s the brand of which you have some familiarity. And because of this previous awareness, the odds are in their favor that you’d develop into a loyal customer with a considerable LTV (lifetime value), particularly as more kids arrived on the scene.

Another real-life example of this phenomenon occurred several years back with P&G’s Febreze. P&G tried targeting ads for its Febreze air freshener at pet owners and households with large families (not inclusive; too tightly targeted). The brand found that sales stagnated, so the decision was made to expand the new target to include anyone over 18. Sales rebounded. Why? The campaign once again became “inclusive.”

Ultimately, the real target of any ad campaign isn’t necessarily the consumer but their purchases. And since most organic growth, regardless of product category or vertical, comes not from current customers, but from the long tail of new-to-category or lapsed customers, it behooves any advertiser that wants to retain/enhance their current market share to communicate their value proposition in as much of an “inclusive” manner as budget will allow.

A proven, cost-effective and “inclusive” way to make this happen? Radio.

Bob McCurdy is Vice President of Sales for the Beasley Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]


  1. Our Beasley-buddy, Bob, also agrees that, to be even more efficient, Creative will, likewise, have to be adjusted in order to be more influential to those in the audience who are not already core buyers and regular customers of radio’s advertisers.
    Bob’s last piece demonstrates quite effectively how aggressive and even invasive targeting often works against the audience and, therefore, the medium.
    Still and indeed, Hope does sproing/spring eternal.
    In this case, Hope does go “boing”. 🙂


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here