Ganeshkumar S

Content or Target? What comes first for campaigns?

Blog Post created by Ganeshkumar S on Sep 3, 2018

It is a no-brainer that both content and a target_list are crucial elements of a campaign. There are many ways to ‘mix and match’ these elements for desired results. Some companies bet on a ‘content_first' approach. But there are others who stand by a ‘target_first' strategy. There is no right or wrong way in doing this. But definitely, there is a ‘better’ way - and it can be easily derived from your campaign objectives. Here are my views on both approaches. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments section.


Content First Approach:

For most innovation-driven organizations, developing solutions comes first. market_scoping and market sizing may follow instead of preceding it. In such cases, the aim would be to promote the solution / product to the target market as much as they could. So, content creation across various formats takes the driver’s seat for campaigns. Depending on how targets react to content, lead nurturing is planned and executed. This approach is also used for ‘spray and pray’ awareness campaigns.  



  • Can reach wider audiences since content is generalized
  • The number of assets needed for the campaign may be less when compared to a target first approach
  • Campaign execution is simpler due to a lower number of messaging streams



Target First Approach:

For some organizations, quick wins are of utmost importance. They cannot afford to wait for conversions to happen at its own pace. And they may want to capture all their low hanging fruits as effectively as they can with minimal touch. In such cases, organizations first define their targets and acquire as much intel as they can about them. This may include their current state of business, buying journey, personas involved, available budgets and expiring projects. Interestingly, this is the most crucial effort as the impact of the content, and the campaign itself, is dependent on this intel. The marketing team creates multiple messaging_streams for different types of target profiles. As a result, the targets receive customized content - which better resonates with them. This considerably improves the success rate of the campaigns by delivering higher conversions and better quality leads. I suppose these are the very reasons that make this approach a 'favorite' for deal / account based marketers.



  • Resonating content potentially delivers better conversions
  • Significantly accelerates sales cycles
  • Quality of leads is much higher
  • Paves way for the sales team to approach the prospects with better intel


  • Target intel is crucial for success. If intel is insufficient/inaccurate, campaign will fail
  • Larger the target audience list, more the asset creation effort. When account-level-customization is considered, this gets even more cumbersome to manage
  • Cost of content creation may be high if it is not managed well
  • Reach may be limited to a select number of targets
  • Campaign management is challenging due to the complexities involved in managing multiple sub-campaigns


After all, this boils down to ‘reach’ vs ‘impact’ - shallow and wide as opposed to narrow and deep. Honestly, that’s a call that you have to take based on your campaign strategies and your execution capabilities.


But, thinking out loud, making a wide and deep cut is not an impossible task.


After all, you just need a starting point – the thought that this is possible and the intention to make it happen


Ganeshkumar S

Sheelu Vallabh