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Shotgun vs Sniper Marketing Approach (Which One Is Right For Your Business?)

shotgun vs sniper riffle marketing

Shotgun marketing approach is dead or at least dying a slow and painful death.

In this article, you will learn and understand the right way to target and gain customers using Interactive Marketing a.k.a Sniper Approach Marketing, which is the new and most effective way to market your products and services to increase sales and get customers who are interested in your offerings.

For the past year, my love for marketing has grown tremendously, from enrolling on courses to getting a Masters in Business Information Systems Management to reading academic journals on the Psychology of selling, it is safe to say marketing and the art of  putting the right product in front of the right audience at the right time is my new found love.

Before we go into this article in more depth, let’s address the elephant in the room, what is Shotgun and Sniper Marketing Approach ?

Shotgun Marketing Approach.

Just for the record, I have never owned a shotgun or any gun for that matter (lol) but the way a Shotgun works is this: When the gun is shot, the pellets or bullets is scattered across it’s target. Even though a shotgun can be targeted solely at one target, the bullet scatters and hits multiple locations on the target. In shotgun marketing approach, this marketing strategy is a single blast type of marketing that affects large demographics.

Examples of Shotgun Marketing Approach (a.k.a Direct Marketing) are: Postcards, Infomercials, Direct Mail, Bill Boards, Cold Calling, Magazine Ads, Newspaper Ads and more – basically the traditional way of advertising a product or service.

Businesses that can make use of Shotgun Marketing are Huge companies such as Coca-Cola whose products encompasses multiple demographics of age, gender, ethnicity, and income. How it works is that – marketers or businesses focus to gain the attention of a large number of people with hopes that the people who will take action (e.g purchase the product or service) is equally large.

As this approach is good for businesses with large budgets and a varied customer base, before it is embarked on, it is important to evaluate the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of this campaign type.

The problems with Shotgun Marketing Approach are;

  • Its very expensive: Traditional forms of marketing such as Billboards, Newspaper and the likes are always very expensive because of their “perceived reach” and this creates a huge barrier to entry! Only big players and businesses with a large budget can afford to go this route.
  • Not Targeted: Ads on a Newspaper and other traditional ad spots are “somewhat not targeted”. Every time I open  a newspaper on the tube, I see numerous ads that does not relate to my current situation or needs like ads from realtors wanting to sell houses with asking price of over £200,000 and more, this ad isn’t relevant to me because I am a young professional still on the path to building my businesses and am not in the financial bracket to own a house yet. This is the same thing for thousands / millions of other people who see such ad. So the wrong product is being shown to the wrong person at the wrong time!
  • Not Track-able: This is huge! What is the point of running a campaign where results cannot be measured? there is no way to tell how many people actually saw the ad, how many showed interest, how many people took action (this can be tracked somewhat but cannot 100% accurate) and the people to follow up with.

Most businesses still make use of the Shotgun Approach, they hope that as much people see their ad or marketing materials and enough people take action on it. They are basically betting on “chance”, smart businesses do not bet on “chance”, they make use of the Sniper Approach!

Sniper Marketing Approach.


Unlike how the Shotgun works, the sniper is more focused and targeted – One bullet is for one target.

Sniper approach marketing is a marketing or advertising strategy which involves targeting a clearly defined audience effectively and efficiently through clearly defined marketing and promotional strategy! It’s a type of marketing that aims to put the right product infront of the right person, at the right time!

In terms of business and marketing, an example of a Sniper Approach marketing would be a Facebook ad that targets Men in the age range of 23 – 45 who are interested in Entrepreneurship and who follow the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk, Tai Lopez, Mark Zuckerberg & Grant Cardone who make between £35,000 – £50,000 per annum!  Now, that’s a targeting that will bring good results if the product or service being offered is a right fit for that audience.

Instead of running a newspaper ad or paying tens of thousands to get a Billboard ad made to target such people (and showing the ad to thousands of people who are not interested or financially capable of buying the offer), a fraction of the ad budget can be used towards sniper approach marketing ads (mostly digital marketing ads) that are sniper targeted to the audience you want to reach.

The advantages of Sniper Marketing Approach:

  • Its cost effective: Regardless of a business’s size, they can start and run an ad from as low as $5/ day and get some results (considering that their targeting and offer is solid).  Compared to traditional marketing where the least ad spot on a newspaper could start from $2500 with no promise of reaching the right people.
  • It’s targeted: Like the example given above, sniper approach marketing allows you to go super targeted with your ads and creatives. If you are to create an ad for a specific age range with specific likes and interests, the creatives for the ad can be customized to fit the target audience and with the power of ad platforms such as Facebook, marketers and businesses can now target people with interests, behaviors and buyer intent related to their offering. This is very powerful.
  • It can be tracked: Being able to know who has viewed, clicked or taken action by clicking on an ad is what sets the sniper approach marketing from the traditional form of marketing. A business is able to create a free blogpost, video or eBook.., run an ad to people who are interested in that topic, track and see people who clicked through and track the people who took action (if there is an action to be taken) and re-taregt those whp showed interest but didn’t take action. Every dollar can be accounted for and a monetary value can be placed on what a new customer is worth to the business.
  • There’s a room for Follow-Up: Things like Cookies and Pixels allows marketers and businesses to be able to run a re-targeting campaign or ad to re-target people who showed interests , clicked on or through to the ad but did not take action! Studies have shown that the average person has to see something or an offer multiple times before they take action, well with the sniper approach marketing..,you are not only able to re-target and follow-up but there is an avenue to be creative by making the follow-up feel more personal!

A real life scenario example of this:

  • I create a blogpost around How To Become a Website Designer. (…at the end of the post after delivering value, I put a call to action to enroll on my course).
  • I run an ad and target people who are likely to be interested in learning and becoming a Website Designer.
  • Some people read the post and take action by enrolling on my course, some people read the article but don’t take action!
  • Because of the Pixel installed on my website, I am able to re-target those people who didn’t take action with a new ad – maybe an ad offering them a free video from my course just to give them a taste of what is inside the course. The ad tittle can be something like “Still Interested in Becoming A Website Designer? Watch This Free Video To Learn My 5 Steps To Designing A Website in 24Hours” or maybe offer them 20% off the course.
  • I am able to re-target them with a creative and ad that is unique to them having in mind the fact that they have checked out my article (which shows interest).

Examples of Interactive Marketing / Ad Platforms are: Facebook, Google (Google Adwords), Bing, YouTube, Instagram and Emails. Using this platforms allows businesses and marketers to have a much more sniper approach to their marketing rather than trying to reach everyone with one bullet which is always more expensive.

Rounding Up!

Whether you are a small business, entrepreneur or a big business, using the Sniper Marketing Approach is always a good idea, the benefits outweighs that of the Shotgun. In a world where customers are becoming more educated and wanting to be “in control”, being able to market directly to their needs and wants is crucial. Businesses and marketers who focus on the sniper approach will win, because their ads and marketing materials will always hit the audience in their pain points hence solving a problem, providing value and getting a good ROI on ads or marketing done!

I would love to hear your thoughts on Shotgun and Sniper Approach marketing. Please drop a comment below!

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Tags : digital marketingriffle approach marketingshotgun approach marketingsniper appraoch marketing
Daniel Damilola Nejo

The author Daniel Damilola Nejo

Daniel Damilola Nejo is a Nigerian born, London based Creative Designer and Content Creator with love for the hustle and community. He has a Masters in Business Information Systems Management and is Endorsed by the UK Government as a "World Leading Exceptional Talent in Digital Technology" . He is a true hustler and a forward thinking individual who uses his knowledge and skill to add value to lives around the world. He works with startups, businesses and individuals around the world as a digital designer and brand developer. Founder of some Digital startups and brands.

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