It’s not hard to imagine a future where interactive marketing messages are nearly inescapable. As advertising increasingly gets incorporated into our every device, brands will have even more opportunities to interact with consumers in every aspect of their lives – and will tailor their messages accordingly. As marketing gets customized to consumers’ particular tastes and interests, it’s worth asking: What future is there for mass marketing?
The Wall Street Journal went so far as publishing a farewell to mass marketing recently. The article envisioned a future in which advertisers will pinpoint the exact moments and needs that users have and supply consumers with the solutions they are looking for in real time. In other words, the more ways we have to reach the masses, the less relevant mass marketing could become.
We’re already witnessing a mass trend toward customization in marketing, aided by new software packages, social media and other technology. But traditional mass marketing hasn’t gone away, either. Marketers won’t stop trying to reach large swaths of consumers in broad geographical areas any time soon, and they’ll probably continue using some of the same methods for doing so.
What’s in store
Most marketing experts agree that mass marketing as we know it will fall by the wayside as more personalized trends take hold. Marketing Land, for example, predicts that smart marketers will leverage access to new levels of consumer information and provide mass personalization of offerings to woo consumers and drive growth. The purpose would be to create unprecedented levels of consumer engagement and affinity for brands that most effectively use new data and technologies. This would require a shift away from big data to information focused on interests and patterns about individual customers.
This development could pose challenges for certain established corners of marketing. Consider all the services that currently provide custom content through automated mass email marketing. Bloomberg Business reported that this marketing strategy could suffer since millennials avoid email and it is neither social nor collaborative. In its place, Bloomberg Business predicts a form of mass marketing that first focuses on the content itself, followed by a strategy to track and measure engagement with that material. In doing so, individual pieces of marketing could be tagged, tracked and shared anonymously. Standard metrics, such as click-through rates from email, will evolve into engagement rates, the website reported.
For now, traditional mass marketing still benefits companies like Apple. If your brand’s logo is popular and identifiable enough, the masses may flock to it either way. Will marketers continue attempting to appeal at once to an entire market? Certainly. But for many, the days of staid and impersonal mass distribution strategies are probably numbered.