The idea of "scale" in the digital, social, mobile world is something that has perplexed me over the past five years or so; really ever since the masses started pushing towards the adoption levels of maturity. Scale, to me, is a bit of an antiquated measurement in the "new way of marketing." The idea that each message, regardless of media, must reach a massive amount of people in hopes that a decreasingly small fraction of individuals take action on a lead or purchase, is one that doesn't begin to take into account the paradigm shift that digital has created; an individual paradigm. The role of a message or interaction in the digital space, most likely, isn't for reach or scale for the consumer. It's about something deeper, something more intimate. Digital has the ability to segment or even dynamically personalize messages, offers, or experiences that produces a more profound output for a brand than a simple blanket message to drain money from an unsuspecting small percentage of the communicated universe. It allows for dynamic interaction; in real-time, wherever the consumer may be.
So when thinking digital, please don't ever say the word "scale:" for it kills the opportunities before anything commences. Instead, think loyalty, advocacy, passion, lifetime value, and incremental purchase... Expand a relationship, don't squander it by treating people like sheep. We have a great opportunity to think beyond traditional and think about the future of our brands.
Scale is in the long term, lifetime value of consumers, not universes reached.
*** Caveat, I'm not saying that awareness building campaigns shouldn't be a part of the overall marketing strategy. They most definitely should be discussed and executed, even in the digital display arena. What I am saying, is allow yourself to segment, allow your consumers to segment themselves, reward them for doing so.