Most of today’s marketing strategies revolve around terms such as segmentation, specialization, buyer persona, geolocation, etc. In other words, concepts emphasize the public’s differentiation and the products or services for each segment. However, in this sense, mass marketing goes against the tide. So much, so that many already considered it an obsolete technique.
What is mass marketing?
Colloquially, it is a marketing strategy that seeks to impact everyone without distinction of their gender, age, location, tastes, hobbies, cultural level or behavior in the market.
This type of marketing seeks to implement a single global strategy aimed at the general public to achieve the brand’s commercial objectives in one go.
For this reason, this strategy could also be defined as the opposite of concentrated marketing, which focuses on segmenting the audience as much as possible to impact them with highly personalized advertising messages.
Normally, mass marketing is used when promoting so-called mass consumer products. These are products or services in high demand and that are necessary for all strata of society.
When offering generic products oriented to the general public, it is more difficult to obtain competitive advantages, focusing on offering superior quality to the competition or more competitive prices.
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Characteristics of mass marketing
Mass marketing is a strategy that uses promotion through mass media with a great reach. For example, television, radio, written press or internet platforms such as social networks.
On the other hand, it is intended for the promotion of basic necessities. They are products or services that everyone consumes and that consumers want to obtain at a good quality/price ratio. An example would be food, soft drinks, personal hygiene products, etc.
Another characteristic of mass marketing products is that they tend to be of fairly limited quality. They often sacrifice quality in favor of price. An example is the private labels of supermarkets.
This fact is completely intentional. Manufacturers seek to make products of limited quality to reduce production costs and ensure that they will need to buy the product again in the future. This is what is known as planned obsolescence.
From the previous paragraph, it can be extracted that mass marketing is used on recurring purchase products. In other words, consumer goods that the user usually buys periodically.
Examples of mass marketing
A clear example of products that are the object of massive marketing are those destined for food or soft drink brands. Mainly those that are intended for the general public and that have a broad market sector. For example, Coca-Cola’s strategies tend to be mass marketing, but other novelty soft drink or energy drink brands perform greater segmentation in their advertising to specifically target a young or athletic audience.
Another example is personal hygiene products. For example, everyone consumes toothpaste. It is a product that is not made for a specific consumer. Manufacturers seek to convince as many people as possible about the advantages of using their toothpaste over the competition. Hence the brands that emphasize their toothpaste properties, such as anti-tartar, protection against bacterial plaque, etc.
There are many more examples of mass marketing. Think of a large company that markets a staple product or that everyone uses. For example, the advertising of mobile phone companies also targets the widest possible audience.
Or what about the sale of furniture or home accessories? Everyone needs to furnish their home, so many brands seek to reach as many users as possible. This does not mean that many brands make a segmentation to digitize a specific group of users. For example, IKEA can run a massive marketing campaign and complement it with others aimed at newly married couples who have just had their first child.
What are the main pros and cons of mass marketing? Is it still a recommended strategy in these times?
The main advantages of mass marketing are:
It has the potential to reach a large number of users. Your target audience is very broad, which increases the possibility of obtaining good customer numbers despite having a low success rate.
The investment of time and money in research is less since in-depth studies on different market segments are not required.
It is especially useful to reinforce the image of already established brands and that have a significant market share.
It is also ideal for promoting the so-called “star products,” which enjoy great popularity. To see the different phases that a product goes through, we recommend reading our article on the BCG matrix.
It is a strategy that can be oriented towards economies of scale, which results in lower costs in the manufacture of products.
One of the great disadvantages of mass marketing is that today the market is increasingly segmented due to product saturation. Users often look for specific products that stand out from the rest. Brands know this and invest a lot of time and money in locating their buyer persona or their target to impact them with the right messages. These types of personalized messages will always be much more effective than generic messages.
On the other hand, mass marketing makes use of the so-called shotgun technique. It is based on firing many shots in the hope that some of them will hit the target. However, these days this strategy is more like killing flies with cannon shots. You can take a lot of shots, but if you don’t aim at your target, none will hit the target.
And worst of all, being a unique strategy focused on a global audience, failures can be outrageous. It is not the same to fail with a specific product. Few units are manufactured and aimed at a specific population group than to fail with one for general consumption, which is the company’s main economic support.
Does mass marketing have a future?
Some many authors or marketers claim that mass marketing has YES disappeared. The main reasons are the development of communication channels, which have caused consumers to be more and better informed and the audience more segmented.
In this situation, it is essential to look for the differential factor over the competition, find that market niche that allows us to stand out, or perfectly know the target to offer personalized products and services.
However, you could say that mass marketing has NOT disappeared and that, in reality, it never will at all. There are times when it resurfaces strongly, such as times of economic crisis. Also, it may be outdated in Western society or other developed countries. Still, it is not so outdated in other parts of the developing world, where consumer knowledge is not as extensive.