Shotgun Marketing

What Is Shotgun Marketing And Why It Matters In Business

Shotgun marketing is a form of above-the-line (ATL) marketing, where popular mediums such as TV and radio are used to market to a mass audience. This technique of marketing targets as many consumers as possible. Also known as mass marketing, the technique attracts a large number of leads that, on average, might be lower quality in nature.

Understanding the shotgun marketing approach

The shotgun approach is used by businesses whose customers span multiple demographics. With this broad and diverse target audience, they may use a suite of different marketing channels to market their product.

Indeed, the focus of marketers in this approach is the product itself – which has similarly broad or generic product features that will appeal to several demographics.

Shotgun marketing is a form of above-the-line (ATL) marketing, where popular mediums such as TV and radio are used to market to a mass audience. It differs from rifle marketing, which utilizes below-the-line (BTL) marketing to target specific buyer personas through similarly specific and targeted mediums.

Businesses best suited to the shotgun marketing approach

The shotgun marketing approach is not suitable for every business, but those that are might have the following characteristics:

  1. A focus on reaching as many consumers as possible, with less of a focus on trackable metrics and earning a ROI.
  2. A goal of increasing brand visibility across multiple channels.
  3. Products with generic, mass consumer appeal.
  4. A large marketing and advertising budget.
  5. Broad physical or geographic presence, such as operating in many different countries or cultures.

Real-world examples of businesses who use shotgun marketing


Given that Coca-Cola operates in most of the world’s countries, it is not difficult to appreciate how large and diverse its target audience is. Coca-Cola focuses more on reinforcing its brand image by associating the drink with happy times with friends and family. Since happiness, friendship, and family are universally recognized themes, the company does not have to target a specific demographic in much of its marketing.


Like Coca-Cola, Colgate is a business with high brand equity and a positive brand image that operates globally. It also relies on universally recognized themes such as white teeth and smile protection in its marketing campaigns across TV, print, and billboard advertising.


A large part of the success of Netflix is down to its mass content marketing. The company has been known to use large, public art installations to promote its shows. It also actively engages in cultural conversations through the use of clever and relevant video marketing, reinforcing that the brand is aware of and a part of consumer trends.

While Netflix relies less on traditional forms of mass marketing, its more unconventional approach to promotion through art and culture is no less universally appealing. The company understands that most people watch television and that most will find some aspect of its promotional campaigns appealing.

Key takeaways:

  • The shotgun marketing approach is a form of mass marketing that appeals to a broad demographic with similarly broad product features or brand values.
  • The shotgun marketing approach is better suited to businesses with large marketing budgets that have less of a focus on ROI. These businesses may also have brand messages that transcend cultures and countries.
  • Traditionally, the shotgun marketing approach relied on mediums such as TV, radio, and billboard advertising. However, companies such as Netflix are using more contemporary methods of reaching a broad audience to drive sales.

Read also: Coca-Cola Business Model, Coca-Cola Distribution Strategy, Netflix Business Model.

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"