Blog Insight

The Lovable Mutt

Mutts typically bring to mind the idea of mixed-breed dogs, which sometimes are thought of as inferior to purebreds. In the case of marketing strategy, however, mutts win over purebred plans every time.

Mutt marketing is an approach to marketing that involves a mix of different components—a mix of media publishers; a variety of creative assets, personas, and targeting strategies; or a combination of markets or marketing channels.

Having a number of different variables to work with allows the masterful advertiser to test out a plan, adapt to changing circumstances, and then scale and flex the campaign as new opportunities arise while it’s running. Plus, for the stewardship team, a mutt campaign provides professional growth across multiple areas of expertise, since the team tests a whole host of different variables in different spheres to optimize the campaign.

Mutt Advantages

1. Because there are multiple elements that make up a mutt marketing plan, you are able to test, observe, and implement a variety of creative and media factors, and then compare results to improve the campaign in real time.

2. Since a mutt plan is not based on a single assumption, it can be more readily adapted to new circumstances. The fewer the factors that can be changed, the fewer the opportunities to learn the nuances of your target audience and of your specific marketplace, and fewer variables limit your ability to keep pace as consumer preferences shift over time.

3. If you have a feedback or measurement system in place, you will be better able to separate the signal from the noise. Once you can identify the signal, you can increase the tactics that deliver the right performance, and reduce the activities that are just generating noise.

4. From a staff management perspective, a mutt plan requires cross-team functionality to have all the pieces work together, especially as the financial support for the plan grows. This joint effort can pay dividends on the current mutt plan, as well as on future teaming efforts.

A Mutt for All Budgets

Budget size is often listed as the reason for a lack of variety in a marketing plan. A limited budget encourages advertisers to simplify the strategy and to streamline the process to make the best use of funds.

But a low budget alone is not a good reason to eliminate variety in an advertising plan. A mutt strategy is viable for every budget level, and not just for the plans that have higher budgets that allow for dedicated testing and versions.

Here’s how advertisers can make it work:

1. For a low budget, when you can only afford a limited distribution plan that involves one or a few media partners:

       a. Test creative versions and messaging.

       b. Test audience targeting criteria.

2. For a medium budget, when you can afford a midrange distribution plan that involves multiple media partners:

       a. Test each media partner.

       b. Test creative versions, messaging, and audience targeting criteria.

3. For a large budget, when you can afford multiple distribution channels:

       a. Test a variety of media channels (e.g., TV, radio, online).

       b. Test individual media partners within those channels.

       c. Test creative versions, messaging, and audience targeting criteria.


Every marketing campaign should be a mutt, a hybrid of interdependent pieces that make up the whole. You’ll find that mutt to be more loyal, healthy, and intelligent than a purebred plan.

Talk to me about it.