Mass Vs Niche in a World of Digital Marketing Solutions

Posted by Ross Lauder

24 June

Are you still using aimless Digital Marketing Solutions or have you graduated to a more targeted approach?Ross_Lauder_Profile_Picture.jpg

There has been plenty of debate on what type of marketing is more effective for businesses that advertise on both online and more traditional formats. While Mass Marketing tends to lend itself more towards offline mediums, niche marketing is all about the web. The choice for marketing strategy typically narrows down to two options: mass marketing and niche marketing. Let’s look at both more closely and they'll largely depend on money so let's explore.

What is Mass Marketing?

In a nutshell, mass marketing is a marketing strategy that uses mass distribution and mass media. This essentially means that you are trying to market across all demographics. This is a common strategy employed by large corporations and international and well-known brands such as Coca-Cola and FedEx.

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The Difference Between Mass Marketing and Niche Marketing

Mass marketing can be better understood when compared to niche marketing. Niche marketing can be considered as the opposite of mass marketing simply because it is more targeted. Niche marketing focuses on a smaller market segment with specific definitions. Unlike mass marketing, niche marketing focuses on a smaller group of people with easily identifiable preferences, wants and needs. For example, Pampers is a popular baby nappy/ diaper brand that has no definable market so it’s pretty obvious that they use mass marketing as a strategy. BumGenius! on the other hand is a cloth version brand that appeals to eco-friendly and cost-conscious parents. While both Pampers and bumGenius! cater to parents of infants and toddlers, bumGenius! targets a smaller market segment with very specific needs and preferences. This is what niche marketing is and as you can see, it’s a completely different animal from mass marketing.

Who Uses Mass Marketing?

Mass marketing may seem like an appealing marketing strategy to use since it casts a wider net and would reach more markets. But while you can save on costs for market research, you’ll still have to invest a considerable amount of resources to be able to have access to mass media and other advertising formats. 

TV commercials, newspaper and magazine ads, radio commercials and online advertising on popular websites are some of the most common mass marketing formats. Remember that in mass marketing, your objective is to reach the maximum number of people possible and to achieve this objective, a huge investment may be required.

Businesses and companies with products that cater to almost all age groups typically use mass marketing. The same strategy goes for brands that have a massive international market. Automobile companies like Toyota and Hyundai, large retailer stores like Dunnes and Tesco and some food and beverage brands like Pepsi are some examples of brands that use mass marketing to great success. The real challenge I have with this method is that it becomes nearly impossible to track ROI and you'll often hear marketers in favour of this medium exclaiming, how they're doing simply for brand awareness. While smaller businesses might think they need "brand awareness" the reality is they often haven't got the CapEx budget to support it and with difficulty in proving ROI you're setting yourself up for failure. 

Who Uses Niche Marketing?

Niche marketing is not only used by small businesses and niche brands. There are also large companies with established brands that use niche marketing successfully. This may be a more effective strategy for companies that sell products that only a smaller market will appreciate. Market research is an absolute necessity with niche marketing and brands also have to determine the best places and formats to advertise their products. This approach also lends itself well to the technology sector namely software, with businesses who are born global but still remain highly targeted. 

Companies with limited marketing budgets often employ niche marketing, their budget is now trackable and Opex based. The same goes for niche companies that offer products for very specific needs. Larger brands that have products that only appeal to a small market segment also uses niche marketing. To be clear when I say niche marketing I effectively mean "online marketing". Being online means you can target specific keywords, online groups, ppc adverting, social media but on a global scale. So you can afford yourself the benefit of targeted customers as well as volume with more manageable costs. 

A good example is green marketing. Green marketing is the strategy for promoting products that are eco-friendly and resource efficient. Honda is an internationally known car brand, but it also offers hybrid cars for the energy-conscious, environmentalist consumers. The company creates targeted advertising for its hybrid cars that is different from its other products.

Advantages and Disadvantages of using Mass Marketing

Mass marketing has its uses and can be effective depending on your objectives. If you’re still unsure whether mass marketing is the strategy that you should use, consider these advantages:

  • The potential for higher sales. Because you are targeting a larger audience, you can potentially have more customers and higher sales.
  • It can save you time and resources. If you’re advertising on broadcast formats, just one commercial can reach thousands of potential customers. This saves you the time and resources needed to hire, manage and deploy a sales team to get the same results.
  • Prevents redundant work. In mass marketing, you’ll simply need several versions of the advertisement for each format that you use and you can repeat and re-use these ads over and over for a period of time. This saves you from having to do one-on-one promotions where you’ll have to repeat your sales pitch to each person or group of potential customers that you meet with.

Some of the challenges you'll encounter with mass marketing are:

  • Mass marketing will not be successful for 100% of available market segments. If you’re running TV ads across multiple cities or countries, your efforts may resonate in one area but may completely fail in another.
  • It is possible for people to get tired of seeing your ads if they’re seeing it too much, too often. If you are mass marketing across several formats, the potential for overexposure is greater.
  • Higher competition. Niche marketing’s success often relies on the fact that it is addressing very specific needs of a specific demographic. In mass marketing, it is understood that you’re part of a crowded industry vying for the same market. Unless your product is visibly superior in more ways than one, or it uses materials or technology exclusive to your brand, expect a tougher fight for market shares. 

Mass marketing can be useful for some businesses and you need to thoroughly assess your product, budget, industry and brand to see whether it’s a strategy that will help you achieve your objectives. Have a sit-down discussion with your marketing team to see whether you need to use niche marketing or mass marketing or maybe a little bit of both to increase product sales and brand visibility. 

Niche Marketing

For those who own a business and need to quantify growth, a niche marketing approach is a better fit. Think about it in terms of the battle you would pick to win against your competition to win. Put simply as a new business you are going into a space you can be inches wide and miles deep. You might be a software company like Microsoft, but you are focusing only on Active Directory Management, which has few or no competitors. Typically from the above you can see how as a small business would gravitate towards Niche Marketing for the following reasons:

  • Controlled Costs. It allows them to control costs in a step by step fashion
  • Global Reach. Now you can reach a global audience by specifying 
  • More Attentive Audience. Since you targeted your persona you're actually solving their problem, now they are engaged as a lead.

To learn more about how you can target your market more directly and successfully, reach out to us.

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