Are You A Victim of Narrowcasting?

Posted August 21, 2013 by Katherine Toll in On the Ladder
Tunnel Vison

Yes – you are. I can almost guarantee it.

If you handpicked your Wall Street Journal home page content, or followed specific topics on LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, or any other social media platform, or entered demographic information on Gilt then you’ve already suffered the dreaded narrowcasting.

Pop Quiz

What the hell is narrowcasting?

  1. A broken bone in a skinny cast?
  2. A form of typecasting?
  3. The opposite of broadcasting?

Nice work for those of you who picked number 3! Narrowcasting is the opposite of (media) broadcasting. Social Media Impulse defines it this way,

Narrowcasting has traditionally been understood as the dissemination of information (usually by radio or television) to a narrow audience, not to the general public. Narrowcasting involves aiming media messages at specific segments of the public defined by values, preferences, or demographic attributes. Also called niche marketing or target marketing.

Of course, the Internet and its clingy cookies elevate narrowcasting to a whole other galaxy! Facebook, Amazon, and Zappos know exactly how many children, pairs of shoes, and pets are in home at any given point. They know we’re getting fired before we do, for God’s Sake!

Aside, from the creepy big brother factor, the implication of narrowcasting also means we receive and feed on the content we want. Our opinions and biases are reinforced. Our world begins to shrink as less and less new information makes its way through to us. In essence, we limit our capacity to grow, and to learn, and God Forbid, change our minds.

So, go nuts! Strip those filters off your online content! Hate art museums? Tough. Go visit one. Hate math? Me too, but let’s try a Sudoku puzzle. Not sure what’s going on in Egypt? Then get cracking! There’s a whole wild world out there to discover.

It’s time to make those marketing folks work a little harder to figure out what makes us tick!

About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.