Is Modern Marketing Intrusive?

This question was asked by my co blogger Shackman as the topic for this week’s Friday 2 on 1 posts.You can read about his own thoughts on the subject at his blog.

My answer was instantaneous – “Yes, of course it is.” And I would like to add here that it is inevitable too. Let us just learn to grin and bear it.

I was a Marketing professional for most of my life and have handled a great deal of marketing methods including intrusive marketing as it is now so elegantly called. During my active days however the kind of intrusive marketing that took place was in-your-face kind, of loud and overt variety, unlike the modern subtle subliminal targeted messaging. For instance, most of the advertising that used to happen was the shot gun variety, where it was hoped that some percentage of the people exposed to it will register it and buy the product or service. Today however, marketing is more focused and can appeal to the correct audience without too much wastage.

Today, a great deal of marketing takes place on the web via email, social networking sites and via hand held telephone devices that keep beeping announcements. Television and movie hall advertising is active but more the shotgun variety and less efficient than the other kinds, as advised to me by a much younger Marketing Professional. And the beauty of the hammering is that it is consensual! In other words, we agree to be bombarded by advertisements when we install applications in our computers and cell phones by agreeing without reading the fine print at the time of installing / downloading the applications. Let me give you another example. Being dissatisfied with yahoo group’s current level of efficiency I recently had to set up some email groups on the net and accessed emaildodo for the groups. While this site offers all that one can expect from a group mailing system offers, it comes at a price. If one does not want to pay the price, one has to accept that the mails on the site will be subject to advertising messages at the bottom. Since we did not want to pay we agreed to see the ads and so get to see some very interesting messages on our mails!

Another aspect of modern Marketing is how mechanised it has become. For instance, if I went online to read a review of a book that I have heard about, I keep getting the book advertised on facebook every time I go there. Similarly, when I wanted to investigate a pair of sandals about a year ago, I went online to find out what would be the choices available. I still keep getting advertisements on my page on facebook whereas someone else on it at the same time, does not get the same advertisement. This is called focussed advertising and is supposed to be more effective but, I find it intrusive and annoying and hence do not buy the product thus advertised.

And as I just finished writing that paragraph, I got an alert on my mobile phone and when I opened it I found this very attractively produced message – “Mend your broken heart; Music heals everything. FM Channel xxxx” Do you think that I will ever listen to that channel which presumes that my heart is broken? You can’t get any more intrusive than that can you?

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20 Responses to Is Modern Marketing Intrusive?

  1. Andy and I don’t give out our mobile phone numbers for that very reason. And we use our answering machine to screen our land line calls. Most of them are robocalls nowadays.

  2. shackman says:

    I just cler my browser history regularly to minimize the problem

  3. tammy j says:

    the last time my computer was hacked and held ‘hostage’ I had to take it to the Geek Squad at Best Buy. they fixed it. they also put on an ad blocker even without my asking. I had no idea how wonderful it is. I am never bothered now with any of them. the guy ahead of me in line had called the phone # the hackers used to get control of your computer. resulting in his computer being fried. poor guy.

  4. Pravin says:

    Indeed marketing has and is very very much intrusive now a days.
    Be it advertisement, or an in-app suggestions or an SMS / call (unsolicited). Personal data of an individual is so much disrespected in India (not sure about abroad) that intrusion is very disappointing. In my case ICICI bank has shared my personal, financial and confidential data with their employees, in fact it is a common practice for them, their employees keep on calling me, how can a bank share my confidential data with any irrelevant employee?

    Digital world on the other hand has made finding TARGET even easier. If you search a flight from Delhi to Goa on a search engine, you will be bombarded for weeks with “cheapest” flights on any website, be it your mail or any website.

    Solution has to be a compulsory – “ask for Opt-In” instead of auto opt-in or request for opt-out in future. Apparently Giants (Google and Facebook etc) have apparently misused user data – take an example of Cambridge Analytica. Government can close a firm but they concept is – and is more likely to be used – by other analytics companies now.

  5. I don’t mind much of it except the pop-up ads that black the screen and are nearly impossible to get away from. I generally just close out the site at that point.

  6. Wisewebwoman says:

    Click bait. I am aware of which ones are – usually of the prurient variety – Queen dies! – etc. etc.

    But I am sometimes shocked at how invasive Big Brother is with regard to my Irish roots or age or level of fitness/health.

    We are all petri dishes now.


  7. shackman says:

    I simply delete my browsing history regularly if it becomes an issue.

  8. yes it’s everywhere it seems – even the logo on your online tool, close up the laptop lid and there it is, open your phone and again it’s in your face….through to the festive music at the Mall, suggesting you buy for Xmas now. Passing any of the el-cheapo shops right now, it’s about Halloween (still not really here); buy a packet of something into the store logo brazened bag…gmail seems to know my browsing habits & as mentioned by rummuser, the f/b side menus.

  9. Kylie says:

    I don’t mind the online ads but I really get annoyed at the phone calls

    • We can install DND (Do Not Disturb) features on our phones here and it works except when some legitimate number calls, say like a club member calling to canvass for support in the club elections.

  10. nick says:

    I get more and more pop-up ads and invites to join something on the websites I visit. They’re like someone on the bus who insists on talking to you. I never respond to them. Those websites that go blank until you’ve answered some questions are also annoying.

    I agree, modern marketing is intrusive and totally out of control, but trying to rein it in would be like trying to stop the weather.

  11. Joared says:

    I ignore them all which is unfortunate for some in which I might have been interested if there weren’t so many — it’s overkill, counterproductive. If ads on any site I’ve gone to interfere with my ease of using the site I simply stop going there.

    It’s also criminal businesses, banks, etc. aren’t required to offer “opt in” instead of “opt out”.

    Digressing to another abuse ….. credit card loan interest rates are at usury rates, too, which should be capped at much lower rates and have been for years, adversely hurting those with the least and needing the most help to advance.

    I wish Word Press would finish up whatever they’ve been doing the past month or two so I could stop having to fill in my name, etc. every time I comment here and on a few but not all of their other blog sites I visit.

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