For decades, the rallying cry in any advertising or marketing campaign was “think big.” But as data has become an invaluable marketing tool, and the ability to utilize it effectively gets better over time, big is not as beautiful anymore.
Big campaigns, known in the industry as macro-marketing, take a shotgun blast approach to advertising (it’s where the expression “spray and pray” comes from). The idea is that you throw out a more general message to a vast audience in the hopes of catching a good percentage of them.
Well, that’s great if you’re a multi-billion dollar corporation with advertising budgets that equal the GDP of a small country. But what if you’re just starting out? Or, you just don’t have the ability to throw that kind of Super Bowl budget advertising out there?
The answer is micro-marketing.
Advantages of Micro-Marketing
Like every marketing opportunity, there are strengths and weaknesses to the approach. Ultimately it depends on your business model. Here are some ways you can use it to your advantage:
- Highly Targeted. In a micro-marketing campaign, you are getting granular. You are drilling down into the demographic to select a specific segment of the population, based on ethnicity, location, sex, interests, and even favorite foods.
- Cost Effective. Micro-marketing campaigns usually come with micro-budgets. That’s not to say they don’t cost a lot of money, but in comparison to a nationwide, hit ‘em with everything you’ve got approach, it’s way less to shell out.
- User-Generated Growth. Micro-marketing campaigns plant seeds in niche areas and let the early adopters do the marketing. When people find something they love, they tell others about it, and it spreads.
Disadvantages of Micro-Marketing
So, you know the benefits. But what are the potential downsides? Here are the top three:
- Higher Cost Per Acquisition. While you are allocation much less of your advertising budget to the campaign, you are also targeting much fewer people than a macro-marketing campaign. It, in turn, can cause the average cost of getting a new customer to go up.
- Possibility of Missing the Target. As mentioned earlier, the shotgun approach of a macro-campaign is going to mean you will hit far more people than with a sniper’s bullet. Micro-marketing campaigns are super-targeted…and that means it can be harder to score a bullseye.
- Time-Consuming. Micro-marketing campaigns take time to develop, and even more, time to plant roots and spread beyond the initial target. Be prepared to spend more time developing and maintaining a loyal customer base. But mighty oaks from little acorns grow.
How Uber Used Micro-Marketing to Achieve Unprecedented Growth
Chances are, you’ve not only heard of Uber but have used the service frequently. You may think that Uber is a relatively new company that experienced rapid growth in record time, but that’s not entirely accurate. Founded in 2009 by Travis Kalanick, it did not start out as a “taxis for all” business model. Quite the opposite. But by using highly-targeted micro-marketing campaigns in just one market – San Francisco—it grew quickly by word of mouth.
“In the beginning, it was a lifestyle company. You push a button and a black car comes up,” said Kalanick “It was a baller move to get a black car to arrive in 8 minutes.”
For a while, that was Uber. An app-based black car limo service that solved a genuine problem in San Francisco. Namely, poor cab infrastructure, dirty cabs, unreliable cabs, not accepting credit cards, and drivers refusing to go to certain parts of town.
Now, for a higher premium, you could travel around San Francisco like a celebrity. The ease of use, the app that tracked the driver, and the safety of knowing the driver and his/her rating spread around the bay area like wildfire.
It spread from city to city, and state to state, much like a virus. And as it spread, the micro-marketing campaign focused on another city, offering free rides or ride credits, and expanding the buzz. Then, additional services were added, like UberX and Uber SUV. Now there’s also Uber Eats, which was again grown by micro-marketing campaigns in key locations.
Uber is not a multi-billion company—not bad for less than 10 years on the market—and a great deal of its success can be attributed to a highly-targeted, laser-focused micro-marketing strategy. Think small, get the early adopters, and let them spread the word for you.