Almost Timely News, February 5, 2023: Reliable Reach

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Almost Timely News: Reliable Reach (2023-02-05)

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What’s On My Mind: Reliable Reach as a Strategic Imperative

This past week, I talked about the massive changes in SEO coming soon-ish. The takeaway from that video, which I encourage you to watch, is that large language models capable of answering questions (like ChatGPT) will dramatically change how SEO works and send far less unbranded search traffic to our websites than we’ve become accustomed to. If you think about how a Google Home, Siri, or an Alexa device work today and the limited amount of search results they deliver, that’s what the future of SEO looks like, especially for unbranded searches.

One of the critical insurance policies we need to develop – and quickly – against this coming sea change is reliable reach. Reliable reach is not a new concept; marketers have been talking about it with regard to marketing since SMS vendors first coined it in 2007. But it’s a concept that we still have not built marketing practices around, and we need to.

What is reliable reach? It’s your ability to reach your audience and get their attention in a reliable and timely manner. Plenty of marketing channels have reach, but that reach isn’t reliable. For example, SEO lets you reach plenty of new customers today, but you have little control over it as a channel. You can’t guarantee or even come close to guaranteeing that a certain group of people will see your content.

What about social media? Public social media lets you reach your fans, but thanks to AI-based algorithms, you are neither guaranteed reach to your followers, nor are you guaranteed it in a timely fashion. Take this example from my friend Justin Levy, who put up an announcement on LinkedIn:

Justin's LinkedIn post

I’m sure Justin would have liked for me to have seen his post sooner than four DAYS later.

So what constitutes channels of reliable reach? Go to our definition – channels where we know our content can reach our audiences without interference from someone else’s AI. That rules out virtually all public social media. Second, channels that allow us to reach that audience in a timely manner. Again, any channel where there’s some kind of algorithm mediating the experience between us and our audience is not a reliable reach channel because we have no control over the timing.

What channels would constitute reliable reach, then? Email, for one. You’re reading this email at roughly the intended time I meant to send it. Yes, for some folks, it’ll sit in your inbox for a few days, but at least it arrived when I wanted it to arrive. SMS or messaging apps are another great example of reliable reach. When you hit your SMS list, people get the message reliably and in a timely fashion.

What else might constitute reliable reach? Depending on your audience, a private social media community that you own and operate would be a great example. When we want to reach our community about an announcement for Trust Insights, we ping everyone in the Analytics for Marketers Slack group, and all 3000+ members receive the notice immediately.

Heck, even fax machines, for those few customers who still have them, constitutes reliable reach. Depending on the timing of your campaigns, even direct mail might, as long as the campaign was able to be planned out far enough in advance that you could get the mail drop arriving all at roughly the same time.

Reliable reach, in other words, is disintermediated reach. There’s nothing between you and your audience – and those channels are going to be vital to our survival as marketers, as brands in the coming years. Without them, we will have no way of reaching our audiences, and we may not even be able to buy our way to the audience with advertising. Ask anyone who tried to advertise during a recent election just how much ad inventory they could even get, much less afford.

If reliable reach isn’t the cornerstone of your marketing strategy this year, strongly consider making it a pillar, if not the pillar, of your strategy. You are building an insurance policy against ever more intermediated, AI-driven channels, and it may be the only insurance policy you have.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

Besides the newly-refreshed Google Analytics 4 course I’m relentlessly promoting (sorry not sorry), I strongly recommend the piece on the future of SEO. This is what’s coming, folks. Get ready.

Skill Up With Classes

These are just a few of the classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.



Get Back to Work

Folks who post jobs in the free Analytics for Marketers Slack community may have those jobs shared here, too. If you’re looking for work, check out these five most recent open positions, and check out the Slack group for the comprehensive list.

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What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Advertisement: Google Analytics 4 for Marketers (UPDATED)

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What makes this different than other training courses?

  • You’ll learn how Google Tag Manager and Google Data Studio form the essential companion pieces to Google Analytics 4, and how to use them all together
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  • You’ll learn how to determine if a migration was done correctly, and especially what things are likely to go wrong
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If you already signed up for this course in the past, Chapter 8 on Google Analytics 4 configuration was JUST refreshed, so be sure to sign back in and take Chapter 8 again!

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Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

Dealer’s Choice : Random Stuff

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How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Events I’ll Be At

Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:

  • Martechopia, London, March 2023. Use MARSPEAKER20 for 20% off the ticket price.
  • B2B Ignite, Chicago, May 2023

Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.

If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.

Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


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