Mass marketing is seriously flawed

One of the biggest problems marketing has is trying to grab a hold of far too many segments all at once, preferable at the lowest possible cost. It seems like a good idea when you're a start-up or an SME to rope as many potential customers in as you possibly can. But rather like in so many other situations, that whiff of desperation becomes off-putting rather than enticing. You fail to make yourself stand out and instead come across as uncertain, or worse, as disinterested.

What you don't want to do is make someone sick of the sight of you. They may remember you that way, but in what light? We all remember that classmate who irritated the life out of us a little too well, but would you hire them if they showed up for an interview? Or would you dismiss them as quickly as you recalled them? Maybe you're a better person than I am, but I would be far too distracted by the negative association whirring around my head to want to be further associated with them. A fellow student of mine said the marketing company she worked for had a strategy that they called "365", which she explained meant that they made sure something was done for each brand every day of the year. That could of course be a good idea but it really depends on what you are doing, not just that you're doing something. It can definitely pay off to be subtle.

 

Put the creative back in creative

We're all becoming a little tired of being treated like dummies by advertising agencies, right? A lot of marketing and advertising seems like it just misses the point. It doesn't get us and it doesn't even try. Part of that is that too much of marketing just latches on to a current trend without adding any of their own personality or innovation into it. Being in marketing means surfing the waves, not lazily bobbing around on your back watching clouds pass. You have to do more than just slap together a couple of social media pages to actually make use of the social aspect. Who are you trying to socialise with and why? But most importantly, why would they want to connect with you?

 

Customisation is king

Your customers are different. They certainly see themselves as unique and you have to play into that. The key is to focus on what makes a segment diverse instead of trying to tie together similarities by the lowest common denominator.

That's why you have to stay on your toes; it's vital that you keep screening your potential and existing customers so that you can understand where they are at the moment and try to evaluate where they might see themselves in the future. If you can figure out what aspirations they have then that's no mean feat. It means you can follow them as they evolve, under the pretense of anticipating them; of knowing what they want before they do. You will never accomplish that by trying to bring them all in at once. Even large corporations are gradually moving away from that and smaller businesses obviously have to as well. The more you depend on successful marketing, the less you can afford to make mistakes.


Lina Barfoot

Lina Barfoot

Editor at SavvySME

All things marketing and advertising interest me greatly.


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Jef Lippiatt

Jef Lippiatt , Owner at Startup Chucktown

Very insightful piece. I agree about the marketing and advertising. I am tempted to get into the advertising space simply because I don't think I could do any worse than the ads I see on TV.

Lina Barfoot

Lina Barfoot , Editor at SavvySME

Yes, advertising is something I struggle to wrap my head around sometimes. On the one hand I'm very interested in the field, but on the other the quality of so many ads is so poor. I'm always ambivalent about advertising. Marketing less so, but maybe just because it's less visible than advertising.