Marketing 8 min read

Mass Marketing: What it is, why it’s Important, and how to use it



Main Mass Marketing Takeaways:

  • Mass marketing is an approach in which companies try to appeal to as many people as possible using one message.
  • Mass marketing is also known as shotgun marketing.
  • The undifferentiated marketing strategy exposes a brand to as many customers as possible.
  • Companies use mass marketing to create their brand image and boost brand recall efforts.
  • Startups generally use mass marketing to boost brand awareness.
  • Measuring a mass marketing strategy‘s success can be challenging.
  • Mass marketing relies on the traditional means of marketing such as print and broadcast media.

The recent popularity of targeted marketing has resulted in a massive shift from mass marketing.

For instance, 66 percent of marketers now spend one-fourth of their media budget on multi-screen ads. That way, they can target users across different devices and operating systems. There’s no denying that mass marketing is on the decline. However, it can still serve a purpose depending on the brand or context.

Before we explore how to use this technique, let’s begin with the what’s and why’s.

Mass marketing image shows a white print paper with the words Marketing Strategy.
Campaign Creators /

What is Mass Marketing?

Mass marketing is an approach in which companies try to appeal to as many people as possible using a single strategy or offer. It’s an undifferentiated marketing technique that ignores market segments and niche marketing. Instead, it promotes a product to an entire market with the expectation of reaching as many as possible. That’s why it’s also known as a shotgun marketing approach.

Think of mass marketing as casting a wide net into the sea with the hope of catching as many fishes as possible.

Since the focus is volume sales, mass marketing doesn’t require building customer-brand relationships or sending targeted messages. Instead, companies only must hit a broad audience to get some return.

As you may have guessed, such a marketing approach could result in several low-quality leads. However, mass marketing has proven useful for some specific situations.

Why is Mass Marketing Important?

Mass marketing is essential because it exposes a brand to more customers and an unsegmented market at a lower cost. As a result, it can be handy for introducing new products to the market. Besides promoting new products or services, companies also use mass marketing to create their brand image and boost brand recall efforts.

Breaking things down into a simple list, companies use mass marketing for the following:

  • Target a large group of people
  • Promote new products at a low cost
  • Create a brand image
  • Boost brand recall efforts

For example, startups use mass marketing to boost awareness in the market. But, as the company becomes more established, it can then switch to a more differentiated approach.

It began in the 1920s when businesses sent advertising messages to an undifferentiated audience via radio broadcasts. However, other media — such as television, magazines, and newspaper — soon emerged.

What’s more, television remained the most popular means of reaching a mass market until the 21st century.

Thanks to the internet, we now have mass marketing media such as email and social media. However, it also ushered in a new age — the era of target marketing.

What is the Difference Between Mass Marketing and Target Marketing?

mass marketing vs target marketing Illustration of a large megaphone, youtube, and a light bulb.
Mudassar Iqbal /

Unlike mass marketing, target marketing is a more precise approach. While mass marketing tries to reach as many people as possible, target marketing attempts caters to a defined and profiled audience. In other words, target marketing involves learning more about the specific audience and tailoring the message to address their needs.

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between mass marketing and target marketing.

1. The Message Format

Mass marketing involves stating a message in the most basic form to have the broadest possible appeal. With that, the brand can enjoy maximum exposure.

Target marketing, on the other hand, requires researching a specific audience. Besides the demographic information, you should also understand their fears and desires.

That way, you can tailor your marketing message to have the maximum impact.

2. Marketing Medium

Mass marketing relies primarily on the traditional means of marketing. These include newspapers, billboards, flyers, including broadcast media such as radio and television.

In contrast, target marketing uses the internet to reach a specific audience. It relies on platforms such as social media, content marketing, and paid search, to name a few.

3. Audience Reach

By its very nature, mass marketing involves promoting products or services to a broad audience. Meanwhile, the advertising message in target marketing is tailored to reach a segmented or specific audience.

It identifies and focuses on people that’ll be interested in your product or services. Indeed, target marketing is the sniper approach to mass marketing‘s shotgun method. As such, it offers a better chance of leads.

4. Campaign Cost

Since mass marketing aims to reach an extensive range of audiences, it isn’t cost-effective.

That’s because advertisers often must take time devising a one-size-fits-all message to reach an entire market. But target marketing doesn’t have such an issue. As a result, it’s cheaper.

5. Marketing Results

While target marketing is cheaper, it takes time to see results. That’s because it requires a lot of research to identify a potential audience.

On the flip side, mass marketing produces faster results. Since it addresses a larger audience, it makes sense that you would generate a few leads.

What is a Mass Marketing Example?

Image shows a bottle of Coca-Cola partly buried on a beach sand. Example of mass marketing
fancycrave1 /

Companies that offer products or services to a massive audience can benefit from mass marketing. For example, telecom operators use this method to promote their telecommunication services to a large market. Similarly, several FMCG products, such as detergent, soaps, also use this marketing strategy. However, one major brand that truly exemplifies the core of mass marketing is Coca-cola.

Coca-Cola’s products are the most successful in the world today. Although the company only sold 25 bottles in its first year, it now averages 1.8 billion bottles per day. And that’s thanks in part to its undifferentiated marketing strategy.

A Quick Look at Coca-Cola’s Mass Marketing Approach

In the late 1980s, the low-calorie diet craze impacted the way Americans ate. To keep up with the changing times, Coca-Cola introduced the Diet Cola drink for consumers searching for low-calorie brands.

Next, the company launched a coordinated sales force and ad drive to promote the sugar-free drink.

For this part, Coca-Cola treated the overall population market as a single entity. That way, it had a large pool of potential customers willing to buy the new Diet Coke drink. And they did!

By the end of the century, Diet Cola had attained a brand name and national distribution power. Today, the diet coke brand is one of the four leading brands of the Coca-Cola company.

The moral of the story is simple. In the right situation, mass marketing can give a brand a significant competitive advantage.

The enormous market potential of undifferentiated marketing can yield a massive sales volume of the target brand. As a result, the production process could incur a lower cost, leading to a more considerable profit margin.

Not only is this shotgun marketing approach useful for promoting a new product, but it can also help attain brand preference.

Tips for an Effective Mass Marketing Strategy

Illustration of a man in suit pointing at a chart.
DavidRockDesign /

As you may have guessed, target marketing offers more advantages than mass marketing in the current advertising landscape. However, you could improve your mass marketing strategy by focusing on market research and analysis. Another option is to stay up to date on emerging trends.

Let’s delve a little deeper.

1. Market Research and Analysis

Measuring a mass marketing strategy‘s success can be challenging. However, you could solve this problem by focusing more on market research and analysis.

Consider outlining specific short-term measures to evaluate your strategy’s success. Such a measure could include the following parameters.

  • Customer satisfaction ratings
  • Transaction costs
  • Total sales
  • Increased revenues

Any of these parameters can help gauge the impact of your mass marketing effort within a specified period.

2. Keep Up with the Industry Trends

Mass marketing doesn’t require detailed research to understand your customers’ needs.

However, it would be best if you stayed up to date on your industry trends to gain insight into their tastes and preferences. That way, you can mass market a product or service that meets expectations.

For example, Coca-Cola introduced the Diet Cola drink in response to consumers’ demand for low-calorie drinks.

It’s also vital that you keep in touch with your customers via email or mobile phone numbers. That way, you can track their buying pattern, including the likes and dislikes.

To Wrap Up

A mass marketing strategy often comes with several significant downsides.

For one, using an undifferentiated marketing strategy means that you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. So, you would be extremely vulnerable to market changes.

Also, while the size-fits-all approach may appeal to more audiences, it doesn’t inspire brand loyalty. So, you have to produce a new strategy to prevent customers from switching brands.

Nevertheless, mass marketing still has some value. It’s useful for creating a brand image and boosting brand recall. Companies also use this marketing strategy to introduce new products into the market.

While it may not be ideal for every brand out there, a mass marketing approach may be right for your current situation.

Read More: 7 AI Marketing Tools To Help You Get A Competitive Edge

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