Mass marketing isn’t just reserved for big consumer brands like Crest Toothpaste and Evian Water. And doing mass marketing doesn’t mean you have to work with Don Draper or have million-dollar marketing budgets. Even small businesses can leverage mass marketing techniques to reach a wider audience and create a brand that people remember. 

Mass Marketing: An Introduction

Wikipedia defines Mass Marketing as:

A strategy in which a firm decides to ignore market segment differences to reach the largest number of people possible.

Considering that definition, most marketers might shy away from this approach. It does feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But before you say no to mass marketing, let’s take a look at 8 ways it can be effective for small and large businesses without breaking the bank. 

Mass marketing seeks to reach the largest possible customer base and build awareness. Whereas, target marketing, which is by definition, “targeted”. This approach can help increase conversion rates across your other marketing channels.

If you have a product or service, either brick-and-mortar, virtual, or that makes money online, mass marketing should be something you evaluate and this article will guide you through 10 of the popular and effective ways to reach your customer, wherever they are, and whatever they’re doing. 

#1 – Social Media Marketing

Social media has many benefits, one of which is near-instant results. The rise in the number of social marketing tools has allowed brands to reach the right customers at the right time. But one of the biggest challenges with paid social media campaigns is that the effect doesn’t last.

Although these strategies and tools reap short-term gains, digital marketing tools like Facebook Marketing can help you build an audience for sustained growth online. A mass marketing approach to social media means foregoing the niche market and the near 4 billion people on Facebook.

When you plan an online advertisement campaign, you typically want to find the sweet spot where you reach out to the masses without getting irrelevant to an audience with drastically opposite interests. 

This of course makes sense, conserves budget, and can lead to better ROI or user acquisition cost. Social media mass marketing takes a slightly different approach by creating content that is consumed by people with universal interest. Doing this is create virality because more people in your target group are likely to be connected across a range of niche topics.

Social media has played its role to boost the presence of almost every brand we see and use. And you’ll notice, the broader the audience, the more your social content will need to resonate with a larger audience. This is achieved by telling stories rather than directly saying what your product does. 

When was the last time you saw an ad for Coke and it explained what it is — a soft drink with sugar. Exposure to a large audience is key, but it’s often the messaging moves the needle. 

#2 – Television Commercials

TV ads can indeed be a costly medium. In addition to the media buy, have production costs just to make your ad. But if there is anything we’ve learned from the Youtube revolution is that making videos that resonate with people don’t need to be perfect production quality.

Moreover, you don’t have to run your ads on NBC or HULU. There are many outlets for remnant and unsold inventory. A quick search for “cheap TV ads” on Google will bring up a ton of resources.

And although mass marketing is not focused as much on buyer persona segmentation and niche targeting as you might be used to with Google Adwords, you can still reach specific audience segments from TV. 

If you go for TV, be sure to develop a message for your product that focuses on the needs of the largest possible user segment. In other words, if your product or service solves multiple problems for your customers, craft a visual story around the features that more people will resonate with. Remember, your consumer doesn’t think of your business as something that “solves a problem” for them. They think more about why they have a problem in the first place. Tap into the “why” and customers are more likely to resonate with your TV advertisement. 

#3 – Radio 

Radio is a great mass-market medium — and it’s not as expensive as you might think. A 30-second radio advertisement is broadcasted in such a way that it gets registered into the minds of customers quite effectively. Two important aspects to think about when creating a radio campaign are:

  • How frequently the radio ads plays
  • The voice talent you choose for your audio 

You know your business best, so if you can write a draft script, you should. But you’ll probably need help preparing a final script that is well suited for radio. There are many advertising agencies with experience with radio marketing, be sure to seek one out to get help. And just like TV ads, craft a message that appeals to the largest possible audience — and remember, without visuals to support your message like TV, you might try humor as a way to get your listeners’ attention. 

Radio ads take your message beyond the social media and television audiences as a specific group of people prefer listening to the radio while driving or otherwise, make sure you capture their attention. 

#4 – Newspapers Advertising

You could argue that print media has lost its charm since the emergence of digital media, but traditional publishing has loyal readers which makes this mass marketing strategy still one you should consider.

Newspaper ads are particularly effective advertising strategies that work for a small business. This medium is a blend of large reach (i.e. distribution) along with micro-targeting (i.e. content sections).

Compared to radio and TV, newspaper advertising is cheap. But more importantly, running your ad in local or national papers gives you a unique opportunity to tie your message to content. In other words, when your ad appears next to a news story, consumers are likely to remember your ad because of the association with something they read.

Of course, one of the biggest advantages of newspaper ads is the overall coverage — meaning, you’ll reach a lot of people in a lot of markets. With this wide reach and content association, Newspaper might be the perfect mass marketing strategy for your business. 

#5 – Magazines 

Similar to newspapers, magazines offer reach and relevance but also provide more niche targeting like social media. Moreover, magazines typically give you more creative options for print like color and design. This can create a “wow” factor for readers by using beautiful imagery printed on high-quality paper which can help engage higher-end buyers. You can create compelling magazine ads yourself using any of the photo editors available on the internet, or outsource it to someone.

If you decide to go this route, it’s important to focus on creative and messaging, and of course, choose your publications wisely. Create ads that match the content of the magazine. 

Magazines are unique in how they target interests or topics such as sports and fashion rather than a particular audience or market. This is a great way to reach a large group of people interested in a particular interest.

#6 – Email Marketing 

You may not realize it, but email marketing can also be mass marketing. Mass email marketing is a really fast way to reach a huge audience, and even with email overload, it’s still one of the most effective ways to engage users. 

Even with all the email platforms out there, running a successful email marketing campaign can still be challenging for marketers. One of the biggest “gotchas” is spam. If you send to a list that hasn’t opted in, that’s spam, and you can get blocked by email servers like Gmail. That could put your entire business on halt. If you don’t already have a big list, there are email list rental services available for just about every topic. You can also sponsor newsletters for popular publications that have huge lists. Just make sure you’ve got permission to send to your list and don’t get caught spamming. 

Email marketing has another benefit, customization. Unlike TV, radio, and print, email marketing can be customized for groups of users or even individually. The obvious customization is the customer’s name (i.e. “Hi John, I think you’ll like this”). But you can take it a step further and modify the messaging, images, and call-to-action based on list segmentation. Most partners will have tons of options, but if you’re building your list start using custom fields to create segmentation options for use later. 

And don’t forget, email is highly trackable. This isn’t limited to delivery and open rates, but also engagement. With just a little code or a good email marketing and analytics platform, you can easily track everything a user does — from click — to purchase. 

#7 – Display Advertising on Hoardings 

Huh? What’s a hoarding? A hoarding is a large board or wall outside advertisements are shown; AKA billboards. You see them every day, everywhere. They’re old school, but they work, sometimes even better than online marketing, and they frequently aren’t as expensive as you might think. 

Billboards have always been one of the most popular means of traditional marketing because of their magical impact on communicating the brand’s message. Visual content marketing, whether online or offline, helps you build an emotional connection with the audience and help you grow your business. And let’s remember, billboards are HUGE, and customers typically pass the same billboards time and time again. So they provide marketing repetition which makes your message memorable.

If you go with this approach, make it visual and keep the text to a minimum, people are zooming by and don’t have time to read a paragraph of information. The printing cost for a boring ad is virtually the same as a full-color design, to get creative.  

Many cities now have digital billboards. This approach eliminates the printing and manual posting of new ads. It also can generate up to 5x the amount of impressions per user. In other words, each potential customer can see numerous different ads in one pass by. However, this isn’t a bad thing if you go this route. People are less likely to ignore your ad if it’s rotating with 2 or 3 others. 

For my part, I’ve even found myself slowing down when the light turns green to try and wait for an ad to flip back that I wanted to see again.

#8 – Digital Display Advertising 

Digital display ads are the OG of online advertising. These are the frequently ugly banners at the top of websites or sticking to the bottom of a mobile app. And while you run limited banner “impressions”, there is almost an unlimited supply so it does fall into the mass marketing category. 

The truth is, banner click rates are really low. But they can also be incredibly cheap. There are tons of remnant banner advertising networks that can get you thousands of impressions for sub dollar CPM’s (cost per thousand). 

The customer won’t pay much mind to a billboard, so you need to be snappy and clever with your messaging. Focus on a specific call-to-action, product benefit, pain point, or problem that your product addresses. Make it as easy as possible for someone to say “hmm, I wonder what that’s about”. Once they get to your landing page, you’ll have a lot more space to tell a full story. 

Pro Tip: Paid ad tools like Google AdWords can help you create digital display advertisements that run on third-party apps and websites where your target audience hangs out. 

Wrapping it Up 

Mass marketing is more about persuading people than selling people. It’s nuanced, but there is a difference. When you “sell” a product you are asking them if they want it. That is to say, selling is to qualify a potential buyer that meets the criteria for your business or service. Whereas, persuading people is more or less advising or urging them to use your product. 

One isn’t necessarily better than the other, they’re just different. Just remember, you’re going to be persuading customers and not selling them — so adjust your messaging accordingly. 

Mass marketing has worked for hundreds of years and will likely always have a place in marketing strategy books. It’s true that direct and online marketing has become the go-to approach for most small businesses, mass marketing is something that can’t be overlooked. Reaching a much larger audience and building your brand is a powerful benefit of mass marketing. In the end, you’ll probably need to do it all.

So whether you’re starting an online store, building a new brick-and-mortar coffee shop, or growing your software business, marketing is going to be a critical aspect of success. Do your research. Test different strategies. Drop the ones that don’t work and keep the ones that do.

Happy Marketing!