Professional Jeweler Archive: Mass Marketing Takes a Hit

August 2000


Mass Marketing Takes a Hit

Here’s another achievement of the Internet: It’s made advertising agencies nervous

Feeling upstaged by the ability of direct marketers and the Internet to personalize sales messages, ad agencies want to demonstrate they too know how to look at customers in depth, while still advocating mass-market strategies such as traditional advertising. So says a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.

DDB Worldwide rolled out a global marketing study with findings from 14,000 consumer interviews conducted about 500 brands. Leo Burnett will release a new study that involved 28,000 interviews and 150 brands. In 1999, the WPP Group introduced its “BrandZ” study, and Young & Rubicam has had a “brand asset valuator” for several years.

Compounding the agencies’ woes, however, are marketing gurus who say mass marketing – what ad agencies do – isn’t as effective as addressing customers individually through the Internet, customer-service centers or direct mail. That’s forced agencies to better demonstrate why specific groups of people are good targets and why their clients should spend millions on TV, radio, newspaper or magazine ads. The agencies say targeting customers individually misses important social factors. “We’re not marketing just to isolated individuals,” says Jim Crimmins, DDB’s Worldwide brand planning director. “We’re marketing to society. How I feel about a brand is directly related to and affected by how others feel about that brand.”

Arguing the middle ground are consultants such as Martha Rogers of Peppers & Rogers, Stamford, CT. Mass marketing has its uses, she says. “We see the goal as getting people to raise their hands and then noticing them individually,” she said. Establishing a personal connection with customers makes them less likely to switch brands in response to peer pressure.

– by Mark E. Dixon

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications