Take the Mass out of Marketing?

There are always exceptions but I don’t get some ‘mass’ marketing. Unless you’re selling something any and every consumer wants and needs to buy — i.e. toilet paper because yes, we’re all full of crap — it doesn’t make much sense.

Targeting your audience with a shotgun? Or a laser?

As technology gives consumers more ways to block, skip, fast forward and otherwise ignore our marketing efforts, I think it’s time to take the mass out of marketing, or refocus how our ‘precise’ aim should be and just do it smarter.

Refining a target is square one; talking about seeing past the big numbers and really look at all those filters that your private data gives marketers before gearing up your content marketing push.

Goldilocks is not your only customer

IMO Coke made a mistake putting big money into pushing Coke Zero solely at men. The marketing strategy – ‘men don’t drink diet’ – I find limited because:

  1. I don’t get it. An informal focus group of the gentlemen soda drinkers in my world: many drink diet and none feel emasculated by it, even if the ads are aimed at women.
  2. They didn’t go for it. I wanted ads of lumberjacks in pink plaid eating quiche drinking Coke Zero while walking tiny dogs, ‘not drinking this will attract hot chicks’ ads like it’s a horrible body spray. If you are gonna skewer a stereotype, put it on a spit a over fire that can be seen two counties away.
  3. It was dumb. Most Coke Zero drinkers I know are women, so you spend gagizillions of dollars developing a product and targeting NOT them? Even if you don’t go after them, you almost target against them and their money? Ok, good luck with that.

Yes Coke Zero is successful in the cola wars, but it’s because women – a lot of them – are also buying. (Sidenote: Coke Zero is a big NASCAR sponsor; 40% of fans are women. Hmm.)

My point is, in thinking of your mass product as ‘this one is too hard, this one too soft’ you can sometimes overthink what is just right and for whom.

Show me the Moneyball

Movie previews, saw that there is some serious female talent in the cast, yet they were barely mentioned in the trailer for new comedy “The Big Year.” Because comedies about men are not relevant to women? Tell that to the team behind The Hangover; or Bridesmaids, as the men in that audience were laughing their asses off along with us women.

Entertainment – many products – cross demographic lines. Women in the audience seemed to like Moneyball, so there isn’t a good reason to limit the preview to only the male audience you think you’ll target. (See also, Serenity – targeting only the Sci-Fi fan and marketing ‘different’ wrong.)

I’m a woman, I like sports and I enjoyed Moneyball. FWIW As a business owner or manager, it’ll have you rethinking those metrics, how you look at the numbers you think you need to hit the sweet spot between niche and mass to succeed.

Apple as go to example

The iPad is marketed as enterprise devise, as education tool, as communications wonder, as gaming machine, as electronic babysitter, digital crack. One ad that targets all those demos so that every Goldilocks with $500 can buy the iPad that’s just right for her.

What’s some of the worst ‘mass’ marketing you’ve seen, too broad or too narrow? Can you think of how to to redefine your niche, where your cross-over – and hidden sales – audiences might be?

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4 thoughts on “Take the Mass out of Marketing?

  1. Agreed. The world is becoming smaller and with a couple essential exceptions, I believe mass marketing is a thing of the past. Companies are beginning to benefit from individualized marketing or at least marketing to a specific group as opposed to the masses. Excellent and timely post.

  2. “Lumberjacks in oink plaid eating quiche” made me LOL! Mr. D just said they could offer him a million dollars and he wouldn’t drink Coke Zero. And, I’m with you – I loved Moneyball. But we’re in the minority. My friends all groan when I say I loved it.

    You have to think major marketing machines know their target better than we know ourselves. And perhaps, like Marie Callender’s, they screw up and have to go back tomthe drawing board. Maybe the bigger lesson is you can’t please (target) everyone?

    1. Once in a while, I think I’m funny, should have gone into advertising or copywriting. 😉

      I still don’t get the Marie Calendar’s thing Gini. I eat frozen meals sometimes, know there are blogs that review quick fix dinners, cheap home meals, etc. I also am a wine and food person and can’t see those kind of meals appealing to the gourmet ‘foodie’ blogger audience. So, the bait ‘n switch strategy just doesn’t make sense.

      I’m a baseball fan, maybe that helped but what I really liked about Moneyball was the numbers game. Working w/ SMBs on tight budgets — oh to have the WHOLE shoestring once in a while — I appreciated the value of looking at numbers differently, seeking out the bang for the buck. Don’t care of market segment X only accounts for 6% of your customer base; if they account for 16% of your sales and you aren’t even paying attention to them, mass or mini, they are a big untapped market for you. FWIW.

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