Shot Gun Marketing

‐ November 11, 2013

The term has been used loosely in the advertising industry for several decades to simply mean to shoot broadly. Some have used it to mean that a business should not send out volumes of advertising but more of a rifle pinpoint shot is better. This was the birth of niche or target marketing and was originally meant to mean to target your message to the best prospect for the product or service, not to promote to as many prospects as possible.

bigstock-Hunter-9088111The more accurate definition of “Shot Gun” marketing is to promote several different products or programs in one advertisement or on a single postcard at once. Doing this is generally a bad thing because it confuses the prospect and makes the ad look busy.

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Over the years, I have seen that one for one every post card or direct mail program that was mailed promoting several different products or services, fails absolutely 99.9999% of the time. These Shotgun ads get no or very, very poor response and are a waste of money. The client was always advised against doing shotgun promotion, but in a misguided belief that if they promoted enough different things, the more chance they would have of selling something. It never works. Let me repeat that, it never works.

What does work every time is the following formula:

  • Creating a targeted message that promotes one product or service.
  • Structuring the message to promote the benefits of owning the product to the end user. Tell them what it is, how it will help them and why they want it.
  • Give the end user a super competitive price or incentive to buy the product.
  • Giving them an urgent reason to buy it NOW! Usually a better deal or some other value added offer to buy now.

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  • Giving them several ways to respond, call, email or come to the store.
  • Use a QR code and direct them to a website. Your website can be used to promote other services.
  • Get a mailing list that is targeted to people who are the best prospects for the product you are promoting. Best prospect is defined as people based on your experience or research who are similar to people who have already bought the product or service. Best prospect is not someone you think should want it, that is a suspect not a prospect.
  • Mailing enough postcards in sufficient volume and with regularity to actually capture market share. If you are not consistently mailing to a prospect list you are trying to time the market. You have no idea really of how many people will need your product or service this week or next week, but in the next few months it is safe to assume that many, many more will come into the market and buy. You want to be there enough that they call you when they are in the market.

The purpose of the post card or direct mail ad is twofold; one, to get attention and two, to create interest. That is it.

Successful direct mail marketing really is a team effort. Our marketing executives can help you get the correct direct mail program to drive business to your door. Our graphic artist can design a post card that will get noticed and get people to call you. Your job on the team is providing the correct information about the product, with benefits, price and the proper incentive so that people will want to call now.

If you are advertising an noncompetitive product, with a vague offer, with insufficient consistency and well let’s just say you can put lipstick on a pig and it still is a pig. You will not be happy with the results.

Mark Hale

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