Consider the definitions:
Shotgun, a smooth-bore gun for firing small shot at short range [over a wide area].
Rifle, a gun, having a long spirally grooved barrel intended to make a bullet spin and thereby have greater accuracy over a long distance.
When we’re putting a presentation or piece of marketing together, it is tempting to reach for the shotgun. Pack as much in, and fire as much out, as we possibly can. The logic is – go big, go broad and we’re more likely to hit (something).
This feels low-risk and sensible. It’s also lazy, non-committal and doesn’t give what you have to say, or the people you want to say it to, much respect.
A smarter approach is to pick the rifle. Decide on a single target and design a piece of marketing in this focus. This approach helps us to:
Commit to a specific audience;
Be confident, stripping away the fluff or padding;
Be direct – one core message, one short summary, one clear solution.
The rifle makes us think harder, make strategic decisions and present with purpose. Sure, it is higher-risk. But, isn’t it worth hitting the right target and winning a prize worth having?
PS – I’ve heard ‘we have more than one target’. That’s fine. You just need to take more than one rifle.
PSS – I hate blood sports. Purely metaphors here!