Originally posted on InsideCXM.

People dislike mass marketing so much that they have lobbied for government intervention. One study reported that 69% of consumers want products to “help them skip or block marketing” and 54% would “avoid buying products that overwhelm them with advertising and marketing.” Despite these visceral reactions, mass marketing is not evil, it’s merely obsolete.

To hit their targets and move beyond the homogeneity of traditional mass marketing, organizations can improve their success rates (and reputations) by addressing the following four (4) areas:

  1. Be more insightful – understand what customers want. But also understand what they are trying to achieve. When automobile makers added air bags to cars they weren’t responding to customer requests for air bags. Instead, they understood that customers wanted safer cars and they knew that air bags could help them achieve that goal.
  2. Be timely – TV commercials market beer during sporting events because they know the demographic profile of their customers. FTD conveniently markets flowers close to Mother’s Day and Amazon lets us know of similar products people purchased at the same time. Think about other “events” your company could leverage to link customers to your products and services.
  3. Consider the experience – remember the last time you saw a popcorn advertisement? I’ll bet it was just before a movie started because popcorn is part of the movie-going experience just as I consider peanuts essential to a baseball game.
  4. Match selling intensity to buyer propensity – said another way, be prepared to be subtle (or aggressive). Recognize that buying habits vary widely. Hard-sell tactics repel some consumers, while others remain blissfully unaffected. It would be useful to know the type of buyer you are marketing to before you fill their inbox with a virtual mountain of emails.

Companies that listen to their customers are already taking advantage of these insights. For those that are not, big data offers the possibility to be on target when matching seller capabilities and buyer needs.

After one strips away all the negativity associated with mass marketing one concludes that much of the “bad press” could be avoided if companies spent more time observing one of Covey’s 7 habits: “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

The pivot point is that when companies invest more time understanding how and when people buy and not just what people buy, they’ll be more successful at enhancing the customer experience.

Moving Beyond Mass Marketing
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