Mass Marketing: Theory and Strategies

What is mass marketing? Mass marketing is a market strategy whose aim is to appeal to the largest portion of the market while ignoring niche demographic differences, in order to reach the highest number of potential customers possible. This marketing strategy focuses on high sales volumes at lower price points, traditionally using radio, television and print media to gain maximum exposure for the product. This large market coverage strategy is the opposite of niche marketing and seeks to appeal to all customers regardless of niche or segmentation by offering products that are useful to a wide variety of consumers with different needs. 

Mass marketing is most effective when used to advertise products that are considered necessities, products that a large number of people are already guaranteed to be shopping for anyway. By building brand awareness through memorable advertisements, mass marketing aims to alter the behavior of consumers so they will be directed towards the product being marketed. By producing goods that are needed by a large market and offering them at competitive prices, a mass marketing strategy increases the potential for high volume sales while reducing the costs of manufacturing through mass production. 

Products that are mass marketed often practice planned obsolescence in order to reduce the cost of production and ensure that consumers will have to come back and buy the product again. By manufacturing products with low quality materials, companies can ensure consumers will need to replace their items, creating opportunity for future sales. A large number of these products are considered staples—items that customers regularly purchase after they wear out or are used up. Staples can be promoted as being cheaper, even they are a less durable product, because they are sold at a low enough cost to make recurring purchases affordable. 

Mass Marketing Techniques

A number of techniques are used by mass marketers to appeal to the largest audience possible. The shotgun approach, which attempts to reach the audience with advertising on traditional mass media such as television, radio, and the internet, has been widely used and is likely the most familiar technique Advertisements utilizing the shotgun approach present a non-exclusive message that appeals to a broad range of customers. 

Guerrilla marketing is another commonly used tactic in mass market strategies. This strategy aims to produce advertisements that capture the attention of a large market with exciting and memorable messages while engaging consumers in a positive way. By utilizing online distribution methods, this strategy tends to minimize the cost of advertising while offering companies the ability to interact with a large base of viewers. In theory, guerrilla marketing allows a company to leave a stronger impression with consumers by cutting through the noise of a saturated market. 

Disadvantages of Mass Marketing 

Although mass marketing is widely used, a number of disadvantages that can make this strategy less effective than market segmentation should be considered. An increasing number of consumers are dissatisfied with the “one size fits all” approach and seek out more specialized products than those offered under the mass marketing umbrella. The rise of online reviews has muted the swaying power of advertisements, taking the effectiveness of directing messages about their products away from companies and placing it in the hands of consumers. The effectiveness of mass marketing to attract customers has decreased as companies’ marketing strategies attempt to replicate traditional advertising efforts in the new world of online marketing. 

Culture and location’s impact on how advertising messages are received by customers is another disadvantage of mass marketing. A mass marketing campaign may be successful in one region while failing to make an impression on consumers in another. The geographic location and culture of a consumer base have an impact on how those consumers respond to a message, and consumers in different regions will often require different services and products related to their locations. By targeting advertising in regions that may not have a need or interest in a type of product or service, companies can end up wasting money on marketing efforts that don’t attract new sales or customers. 

Because of the high cost of mass market efforts, this strategy often yields a lower return on investment than other strategies, in spite of its potential to generate high volumes of sales. Production costs for advertising spots, as well as the cost of placing those ads on the radio, internet, and television mean that this strategy often requires a large marketing budget. While mass marketing can be successful for general products and is typically considered low risk, the potential of a company’s message not resonating with consumers could lead to money wasted on failed advertising. 

Customer Experience

As the internet has risen to prominence over recent decades, it has become apparent that a better user experience for customers is more and more important, and mass marketing strategies have failed to maintain the effectiveness they had in the past. Consumers find online reviews on sites like Amazon and Yelp to be more trustworthy than commercials and advertising, meaning companies can no longer take the same liberties regarding quality in their products. Word of mouth has become a powerful tool for marketers, and the first step in generating that kind of buzz is to produce goods that can back it up. 

Audience segmentation is the process of determining which consumer traits characterize a certain group, or segment of a given market. In mass marketing, marketers ignore audience segmentation in favor of reaching all consumers in a large market and appealing to them with a product that most people need or use. However, by not targeting a specific niche, mass marketing can lead to dilution of branding efforts by causing consumers to become bored in an oversaturated environment. 

By understanding a narrow niche of consumers, businesses can better serve that segment of the market and create stronger relationships with their customers. By establishing itself as a provider of quality products or services and catering to a specific segment with a marketing strategy that resonates with customers on a deeper level, a company can generate positive word of mouth and spread its message effectively and efficiently.


Segmentation and the Sales Funnel 

One element of sales psychology not taken into account by the traditional mass marketing definition is the concept of buyer personas. Buyer personas are theoretical, idealized versions of customers who purchase a company’s products. These personas help to focus marketing efforts by describing the type of consumer that the advertisement is trying to reach, giving marketers deeper insight into the behaviors and patterns exhibited by their customers. By understanding the potential buyer personas that a marketing effort targets, a company can fine tune its product development to best appeal to the given market segment.

The “sales funnel” is the buying process consumers go through in order to acquire goods or services from a company. By understanding the target segment, companies can fine tune their market efforts to appeal to their consumer base while delivering goods or services in a manner that best fits that particular niche. Studying buyer personas, marketers can better understand the different ways that consumers receive and respond to different sales techniques, allowing for the implementation of a sales funnel, staffed with salespeople who have been given proper training in effective sales techniques like that offered by Shapiro Negotiations. In addition to buyer personas that map out the ideal customer, personas can also be developed to describe problematic customers and develop tactics to prevent problems with these customers before they arise.

By advertising with buyer personas in mind, companies can tailor products and content to the appropriate segment, resulting in greater market penetration and more effective marketing campaigns. By nurturing specific buyer personas and providing them with the optimum sales process, both small and large companies can increase their customers’ satisfaction and foster a more positive user experience. With a strong product and effective market segment research, rather than the broad and unfocused technique involved in mass marketing, marketers can increase their appeal to consumers through targeted strategies that improve customer satisfaction and leave a lasting impression.

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