Quit “Spray and Pray” Marketing

by Al Loise

Jun 24, 2013

As a digital marketer, I am used to a certain level of targeting in the digital campaigns we launch on behalf of our clients. For example, if you are selling “blue crystal widgets” via an eCommerce store, we would execute SEO or PPC campaigns to get your website to appear on page one of Google when a consumer was looking to buy “blue crystal widgets”. With search retargeting campaigns, we would place banner ads with your brand’s message across the web in front of users who searched for “blue crystal widgets” on a search engine. As a marketer, we can target that user based off behavior or implied intent that makes that user a likely customer.
Because of my level of interest and involvement in these types of campaigns, I look at other, less sophisticated methods of marketing with a certain level of contempt. For example, I typically get 2-3 very generic looking letters per week from a major insurance company, each from a different local agent in a 5-10 mile radius of my home. They remain unopened on my counter until they get thrown away, weeks later in a large pile with other “junk” mail, unread. This is what I call “spray and pray” marketing: to indiscriminately aim and deliver a marketing message and hope someone responds.
“Spray and pray” tactics involve no apparent level of targeting. For this insurance company, some potential targeting or trigger events could include:

• Recent purchase of a home or automobile
• Recent events that changed automobile insurance premiums (accidents, tickets, etc)
• Marriage or other life events
• Recent premium increases by current insurance carrier
• Recent inquiries (either online, by phone, or in person) to that insurance company or others
Here, none of the above targeting applies. Now, whether you are a small business trying to gain new customers, or a large Fortune 500 company, would you rather invest your marketing dollars targeting everybody, or be a bit more selective in targeting those who are more likely to purchase? Targeting everybody wastes marketing dollars and does not put your message in front of likely customers. As all companies look to be more efficient with their marketing and achieve a better ROI, they need to cease with “spray and pray” marketing.

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