Hard to Reach Groups – Understanding the Challenge

Hard to reach groups exist in all communities, they just take different forms. Businesses use several marketing tools and strategies in a bid to reach their target market. The question is; does this marketing reach all the intended market? If not then, why doesn’t it do so? Understanding the challenges faced when reaching these groups could start from understanding the groups and what affects them.

Types of Hard to Reach Groups

· Rural people

· People with disabilities

· Minority ethnic groups

· Illiterate

· Youth

· Unemployed

· People prejudiced about certain products or services

Businesses have found that some groups are harder to reach than others due to the complexity of the situation at hand.


This caters for the illiterate people in communities. Illiteracy means that these people will not be able to understand any form of advertising that uses written language. This is hard since even with the use of videos and pictures, companies still use written text to explain their products and services. As such, they are being forced to use unwritten media to reach this market. The lack of education also means that businesses will use more time and resources in explaining elements of their business since uneducated people will take longer to understand.


One of the hard to reach groups in this case is rural people. Their location makes them lose out on many opportunities offered by businesses. They also affect the target market of businesses hence making it necessary for businesses to find platforms for reaching out to them easily. This demographic challenge also makes it hard for customers to receive customer support in form of training towards the use of a product, installation, removal and maintenance in the event that they receive products that need all this.


Modern advertising has taken to the use of platforms that need the help of technology such as; television and internet. Some people are not in ownership of any from of such modern technology. This means that ads put up on the internet platforms such as social media, website and blogs will only reach a handful of people. The hard to reach groups in this category also lose out on offers and discounts given by companies through these platforms.


Prejudice is a common occurrence in this group. Some people have a negative attitude towards certain products, services or even companies. This group also includes those that think certain products are not of any use to them. The truth is that if something does not affect you directly, it will do so indirectly through your friends, family or colleagues. One man meat is another man’s poison, and vice versa; meaning everything affects everyone in one way or another.


The culture and general behavior of certain groups such as drug users and farmers makes them unreachable. Their operations might not be in line with the company’s services or products hence bringing a conflict of interest. Making them change is often harder than introducing what suits their interests. Companies might make their products fit these groups or leave them entirely. It’s about teaching an old dog new tricks.

The challenges brought by these groups result in businesses spending more resources than they should in reaching them, and these groups lose out on customer support services offered by businesses. It means that even when the marketing succeeds, the use of the product becomes ineffective.

Demographic and technological challenges are easier to solve than attitudinal and behavioral. This is because changing one’s personal characteristics is harder than changing demographic challenges. Despite all this, businesses always strive to reach and expand their target market through these hard to reach groups.


Amy Clark is the Lead Author & Editor of IWantItNow Blog. Amy established the Customer Engagement blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to customer service, support and engagement.