The headline reference may indeed have been lost on you, but it’s from the movie The Highlander, which became something of a cult classic. This reference however is not all that important other than it’s lead in to my assertion that in a world of so many choices, that we do indeed have preferences. highlander3ls

Specifically, we have a preference for the online channels we like to communicate/interact through. And to be clear, what I’m referring to as communicate/interact are any application or site that utilizes the internet as its transport medium.

Personally, I love the old stalwart e-mail. I can make do with e-mail for most everything I do from conversing with friends, to making and receiving product recommendations, to receiving news and information. (Does this make it a form social media?)

Surely I use more than just email. On any given day I’m likely using Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogging on this site or Fairfield Voice, Google Voice, G-Chat, Twit Goo, Photobucket, Flickr, Picasa, My Yahoo, and/or Google Wave. But my preference is e-mail. And my preferred set if you will, is e-mail, Twitter, My Yahoo and Blogging.

What prompted me to write about this was a question from a prospect the other day which was, does social media make it easier or harder to determine how to reach one’s target audience?

The answer is that as marketers seek to reach their target audiences, it is not so much a game of breadth or even depth of reach and choice. I would suggest that it’s also not about fragmentation and too many choices for delivering messages meant to inform, incent, and engage.

Rather, keeping Pareto’s Principle in mind, it is incumbent upon us to determine which are the preferred communications channels that your target audience uses and focus your budget on them.

A little research goes a long way, so I’d recommend tapping the traditional channels you already use to ask your customers what channels THEY use most often. Then apply Pareto’s Principle, choose which channels to focus on, and track results. Surely, it can’t hurt to go a little wider than 20%, but that’s not absolute anyhow. Use research and your savvy and you’ll be on your way.

No, this shouldn’t stop you from experimenting. Nor should you completely discount a channel that may not come out on top but that your savvy tells you that your audience may begin to use more often.

Bottom line – you only have so much time and resource and unless you’re a huge budget brand with lots of each, you need to be as efficient as you can in your efforts – which¬† is the exact approach that my micro-biz clients and not-for-profits are using and succeeding with.

Am I off my rocker? Any good stories to share?