Mass Marketing was common in an era when differentiated marketing or targeted marketing was NOT needed. Today, with so many brands that surround us, the brand needs to connect with us on our level, so that we end up buying the brand.
Even a small thing such as a Pen is branded (Parker, Mont Blanc) and it is now being used as a gifting item or as an item which is bought when one rises socially in their own life. This branding is possible only through differentiated marketing and hence Mass marketing is seldom being used.
However, even in the above example of Pens such as Parker and Mont Blanc (which are sold on the basis of their branding and heritage) there are many pens which are mass marketed. This is because ultimately these pens complete a need – A need to write. And that’s all a pen is – something to write with.
When the product completes the need of the customer, it uses Mass marketing. There are many products out there which are need based products, and they do no meet the “demands” or the “wants” of a customer.
Examples of mass marketing
Telecom operators generally use mass marketing because telecommunications is a service used by many. Soaps and detergents use mass marketing. Many Deodarants and personal hygiene products use mass marketing because they are used by the complete market.
Marketing to the masses is common in certain sectors like FMCG, Consumer durable and certain types of Services. However, for any brand which wants to target the wants and demands of the customers, they have to use differentiated marketing. They cannot continue with mass marketing.
Certain core features of mass marketing are as follows
- It is generally targets a huge group of individuals.
- It commonly uses Mass media but the message used is also not differentiated (unlike in differentiated marketing where mass media is used with a targeted message)
- The objective is of a scattergun approach – hit as many people as you can to get some returns (differentiated marketing is a sniper type approach – hit the target only).
- Majorly used for brand building and brand recall efforts or to introduce a new offer in the market.
Note that Mass marketing is not a drain of money. The objective of mass marketing is to optimize sales and reach the customer or make the customer aware about the brand. A new company which has just started will generally use mass marketing so as to increase awareness in the market. Once the company is established, it will start using differentiated marketing.
Why Use of Mass Marketing has reduced?
- Growth of Competition – There is so much noise out there that the competition is left with no alternative but to differentiate to attract customers. Naturally, in an industry of 10 players, if 5 differentiate, the other 5 have to differentiate as well.
- Targeted segments give more profits – Over the years, it has been found that targeted segments connect with the brand strongly and stay brand loyal. In contrast, if you use mass marketing and a competitor uses targeted marketing, the competitor might get a niche but he will be the King of that niche. You will be like the Jack of all trades and king of none with the mass marketing approach.
- Better ROI with market research – Market research has become really simple over the years. A form on your website, or an emailer to your existing clients with the CRM that you have, and half your market research is done with low investment. Thus, you know what your customers want in the future and what they are looking for in your brand currently. The ROI right now with good market research is fantastic.
- Reduction in cost – As said before, Mass marketing is a scattergun approach, only a few targets are hit. Naturally this involves a high cost and expenditure in terms of buying media and executing the marketing plan. Cost might not be necessarily low with a differentiated marketing effort, but the conversions are high, therefore giving higher ROI in the end and reducing the cost of advertising and marketing.
Most commonly, nowadays businesses use mass marketing when all their outlets or their service centres are offering the same services (which can be consumed by anyone). Alternatively, by considering long term as well as short term profits, a firm can decide entering into mass marketing so as to gain market share.