The Changing Role of Mass Marketing

Josh GordonAudience is becoming an increasingly specialized term. With so many opportunities and channels for consumers to interact with media - and content specialization rampant from cable TV to the Internet - “mass” marketing is becoming a difficult and expense endeavor. "The Future of Media Measurement," a recent Forrester Research report from David Cooperstein, forecasts some changes in the way traditional media is measured, and the potential impact on marketers.
Cooperstein does an effective job at communicating the nature of the entrenched practices within television marketing measurement. Antiquated traditions must give way to modern possibilities. If page views can be measured on the Web and used to justify investment, something more stable than overnight ratings is possible on television. In fact, Cooperstein rightly predicts that measuring TV advertising should be more akin to measurement practices within interactive marketing. The key is the backend technology on how the content is distributed.

The inability to properly measure traditional marketing efforts, even as they evolve into becoming more modern in many respects, continues to underscore the importance and value of direct digital marketing. For marketers, rather than investing dollars in exploratory channel innovations where the attempt to convert for a more measurable model is in full swing, the emphasis – and investment – must be placed in measurable marketing channels where accountability is baked in and communications are direct.

The most effective mass marketing campaigns still leverage the television. But, effectiveness measurement for mass campaigns has always been difficult to grasp. Convoluted measurements that rely on indirect benchmarks are still driving the majority of marketing spend in the US.

Mass marketing is certainly not in danger of elimination. But, its role is changing. A mix of direct, conversion-oriented marketing and mass awareness marketing makes sense. However, the terms “mass” or “awareness” no longer exclude the primary direct digital marketing channels. The mobile and Web channels both have myriad awareness options, with mobile having the distinct advantage of being highly personalized.

Whether budget dollars are scarce or not – though the majority of marketers are still finding them scarce compared with five years ago – the investment must be placed where ROI is not only high, but possible to measure. The balance on the marketing scale is shifting between traditional and direct digital marketing efforts. For companies to maintain success and discuss growth, the marketing must be on the “right” side of the scale.

There is certainly much more that can and will be written about the changing role of mass marketing. So I pose the question: How do you see mass marketing changing in the next five years?

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  1. Posted March 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Nice blog. Some people would argue Mass Marketing is dead! This is an age old debate dating back to Levitt in the 70’s. I guess it now comes down to what side of the consumer, advertising or marketing fence one is on whether you are thinking global or local, online or offline. However, I see Mass Marketing as the Internet revolution or online world which has been fiercely in competition with the offline world. But the online world is eradicating the offline world. Technology is now driving Mass consumerism via Facebook, Google, Twitter and many more introducing brands, products and services daily. Now we have Social Networking a new phenomenon that is taking over our world. We could go on for years talking about this. But in the next five years Facebook, Google and maybe Twitter or MSN will be the four major players and orchestrater’s of 21st Century Mass Marketing and Mass Cyber Control. I think we all need crash helmets online and offline.

    • Posted March 23, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

      Hi Paul, thanks for the comment. I still believe that marketers need to reach many people at one time, and they still need to build brand that way. What is possible through the television is so much different than what is possible through, for example, a mobile device. Do you see the online experience neatly replacing the offline experience?

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