Invasive Marketing Techniques

Marketing is everywhere. As a child, it was through television commercials in between my favorite weekend cartoon shows, through advertisements on my cereal boxes, and through promotions in my magazines. As I have grown up, so have marketing tactics, and somehow no matter how much my interests change, the world still finds a way to show me marketing campaigns. I wouldn’t be surprised if I have seen at least one form of marketing every day for the past 15 straight years, because marketing is truly unavoidable.

As I have grown up I have become more aware of the world around me.  I have learned plenty about marketing, how crucial it is, and how it works.  I understand that in todays global economy, it is vitally important to educate consumers on ones product or service. I have come to realize that in some cases, the marketing of the product contributes more to generating revenue than the quality of the product itself! Perception and branding are key in today’s fast paced, technology filled world.

While I am impressed and wowed by many modern marketing techniques, some of them also strike a nerve with me.  I have noticed that marketing can tend to become somewhat unethical in certain cases, and often the business practice does not know where to “draw the line”.  I have noticed that today’s marketing practices invade privacy in a number of ways, and have even noticed that marketers are willing to play with consumers emotions in order to accomplish their job.  These “invasive” marketing tactics are becoming more and more common, and could potentially lead to big problems down the road.

Over the past few years of owning and frequently using my laptop, I have noticed an increase in the aggressiveness of internet advertising.  In my experience, the first thing I noticed were pop ups.  From there, I noticed ads placed above, below, and on the sides of the articles I read.  When social media began to pick up, I noticed new tactics, such as commercials before youtube clips and ads between Facebook posts on the news feed.  While I do not enjoy many of these forms of marketing, they don’t significantly bring down my internet experience. My issue is a different type of marketing.  I have noticed that the advertisements I see are often tailored to my interests, even when I am not doing anything interest-related online.  For example, If I google search for a new toothbrush, my next two weeks of internet activity will feature advertisements on the sides of web pages that offer me great deals on a new toothbrush.  I will not only get these ads while viewing medical websites or hygiene websites (which would be understandable), but also on sports sites or educational sites.  Personally, I believe that storing my information and google searches in order to mold my advertisements and the marketing that I am subjected to is a little too invasive, and that some level of permission should be required.

A couple of months ago I was in the heat of Christmas shopping, a task that I decided to do almost exclusively online for the first time.  I did most of my shopping on Amazon, and noticed that they frequently offer “lightning deals”, which I thought was excellent for the consumer to receive a great price.  I saw an item that I was debating on purchasing in the lightning deal section, and immediately jumped the gun and made the purchase (lightning deals often only last minutes until the special discount is gone). After initially feeling great and thinking I got a “steal”, I did some research on lightning deals.  I quickly realized that lightning deals are items that are already heavily on sale, and will continue to be for quite some time.  The “lightning” factor only further decreased the price by a pretty small amount.  Upon this realization, I felt stupid that I fell for the tactic and that I wished I had time to think about my purchases.  I realize that this was intentional on the part of Amazon, with their goal being to convince you that you have to act in the moment to get the deal you desire.  Now I may just be offended because Amazon played me like a fiddle, but I believe that the way Amazon and other companies get into the mind of the consumer is an invasive strategy, and that some actions may need to be taken in the future to limit the boundaries of marketing.

Until that time comes, I’ll be waiting… and buying.

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