Spray & Pray Marketing



I am currently sat on a train on my way back home from meeting with a client in London.

I like heading up to London every once in a while. I’m lucky to live on the coast just a short walk from the beach but it’s nice to visit the city.

If I had to live there it would be a different story but thankfully I can pick and choose when I go up.

You can’t go to many places in London without using the London Underground (or the tube as we call it). The tube has always interested me. It is an amazing bit of engineering but something I hadn’t noticed until today was the number of ads that are plastered on every wall on every single tube line.

Hundreds and hundreds of them.

Ads for mouth wash, computers, children and animal charities all along side posters of the latest movies and plays in the London West End.

I read that 4 million people use the underground every day which generates over 10 million passenger journeys 7 days a week. Those are pretty amazing figures and you can bet those ads are getting eyeballs.

I just wonder how many people really see them rather than just seeing past them. If you use the London Underground every day surely you must become blind to them after a while? Kind of like a real life version of what we call banner blindness in online marketing.

I mean, I don’t live in London and only really noticed them today.

This is exactly what I call Spray and Pray Marketing. You spray as much of it around as you can and pray that someone will see it and take action.

It sends shivers down my spine to be honest. It is very difficult to gauge the response and near impossible to test.

This doesn’t even take into account the cost involved for this type of marketing. It just isn’t an option for many smaller businesses.

Many big corporates primarily use a brand building approach to marketing. They spray their brand on billboards, posters, radio, tv, the tube, buses, taxis etc and pray that when you’re in the supermarket you’ll remember their brand and choose them. This requires a multi million dollar budget, is difficult to track/test, and often fails. Take the Corsodyl ad in the image above as an example. How many of the millions of people who go through the tube each day, will be in their target market, and remember them next time shopping ? If they do remember the brand, was it the big ad in the tube that worked or the ad on the side of the taxi that drove past them earlier in the day ?

Most of the businesses we work with don’t have millions to throw away on a branding gamble so we use a smarter approach. If we were helping a client sell Corsodyl for example – we would target people searching Google for “bleeding gums when brushing” (140 average monthly searches un the UK alone, 1540 average monthly searches in the UK for a range of blood/brushing keywords). We could show our ads at 7am -10am and 9pm-1am just after they have brushed teeth and are searching with a real need and desire. The average cost per click for an ad like that is £1.14. This is to get a real life perfect prospect onto your website so they can buy. Exactly at the point when they have a high burning desire.

Have you ever wasted money on Spray and Pray advertising? I know I did. When I ran my training school, I must have wasted thousands and thousands on flyers, yellow pages and full page ads in magazines.

It generated very little return.

Only when I started applying solid digital marketing principles did my business grow exponentially.

Many people don’t realise how profitable digital marketing is.

It gives us the power to:

  • Target the right people…at exactly the right time
  • Test different messages to see what works the best for our market
  • Improve the return we generate over time
  • Provide upfront value
  • Build trust and add even more value over time

Which sounds more profitable to you – throwing your advertising dollars at the wall in hopes something will stick? Or targeting your ads precisely to get the exact results you want?

Talk soon