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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