• Indy Sim

The Future of Marketing: A Servant of Our Convenience or An Inevitable Threat?

Updated: Oct 12, 2019

Five years ago the concept 'marketing' resonated with the choice of studies when young adults had no idea what they wanted to do with their lives. A popular choice amongst business administration, international tourism and business management alternatives. Today, however, a marketer or not, each one of us is directly affected by it and the influence of advertising in our daily lives only grows. So, it is important to understand its principles, the present situation and future prospects. A modern participant of the society must be at least slightly educated on politics, environment and economics, otherwise, one simply becomes another screw in the mechanism of growing consumerism.

The thing is, that the majority don't necessarily mind it. Our technologies are growing stronger, possibilities become limitless and access to the world seems wide open. What could be better, a certain ideologist would think? I stop myself from mentioning any kind of ideology. People are still consciously or seamlessly are guided by a certain picture of an ideal world, but having in mind that the recent global changes are nothing that we've ever encountered, it is likely that none of the ideologies has the answers anymore.

Going back to the point, modern people like to consume. In that sense, marketing is a wonderful thing: whereas before one had to spend a good amount of time looking for the right product or service, now, personalised adds seem to know what you need even before you know it. Moreover, one doesn't have to worry too much about massively overpaying, because there are so may competition between the companies that each day a new, better offer lands up in your mailbox. And it's not only the services: your favourite cuisine restaurants keep offering your set-menus and deals, your news-stream full of articles and blogs of the things that you're really interested in. It sounds like a modern utopia. However, just like every ideology sounded very appealing in the beginning, this consumerists' utopia can very easily turn upside down.

The knowledge that our personal information is being used without our consent - is out. While some of us are ready to fight for our data and seek to monetise it, still, the majority of the people don't care.

So what that I used a face-app and now Russians have my face to use it however they want to?

So what that I accept with all the cookies (thanks to the almighty GDPR we're safe...) and now hundreds of companies can track my every single step online?

So what that I give my email to anyone and anywhere - it's just a mailbox, right?

And lastly, who cares about what I fear and what my hobbies are, even what my heartbeat is?

I'll tell you who cares - everyone who wants to make money out of you; Trump; Brexit party; Labour party; any party, Facebook, Apple, your local bookstore and some oligarch far far away who secretly wants to dominate the world.

It's not a secret anymore and people even seem to get a little bit bored of it - so what, it's like, we can't do anything. Kind of true. What you can do is to gain knowledge about it and then what you decide to do or think or decide nothing - up to you. It is a free world. But... is it?

A few years back the scandal of Cambridge Analytica revealed how powerful our data was. So powerful that a recklessly submitted Facebook test about the type of your favourite crisps could be used as a tool to determine the next world leader. Might want to think twice before sharing that next time...

Officially, student marketers are taught how to analyse the market (gather data on people), find out what they need and simply provide for that need in a way that it would appeal to them. That would be fair enough if hadn't been taken ten steps too far.

The unofficial practices of marketing teach how to manipulate the consumers into building a certain worldview that would benefit the company's sales. For example, the winter is coming and from time to time I read that the statistics prove that more and more people get this advanced complication of flu. I get a little bit worried - but nothing a cup of tea with some ginger won't sort. Within a week, I find more and more articles with personal stories about how people suffer from this monstrous flu and some newly created medicament saved them. Later, I read that the virus is coming full on to the region where I live, and then miraculously I receive a one-time offer of a magical medicine from that particular virus, and now I can get 10 packs of it fro £500, whereas it used to be £1500. Convinced that I have the virus brewing in me already, I order two batches - one for me and one for my boyfriend.

Now, let's say that not only my news-feed but all media focus on a war in a country far away. It's so bad, that a part of the nation flee their country and seek refuge in Europe. I read that the refugees terrorise our locals, rob our neighbourhoods and disrupts our well-balanced society. I hear on the news that if it carries on, it might change who we are as a nation, irreversibly. But then, there's a leader who claims he can prevent all that and has a solid plan. I'm so worried at this point that it becomes the epicentre of my world and all the humanitarian values go down the drain. Let's exit the union, build a wall and live happily ever after in our little tin box we call our independent country. And the rest can go back to their country where they belong.

However, I've never seen any of that with my own eyes. But the media says it, so it must be true.

That's the dark side of the marketing that oversteps the boundaries between a healthy competition amongst the companies and reaches more towards the ownership of one's sane mind. The mutant flu wasn't real. The war is very much real but the fear media and social marketing are creating - is not.

Ultimately, it's impossible to become completely disconnected from the data-driven universe we have created. And wait, until AI jumps in the game... However, let's leave it for another time. For now, I will sip on my freely chosen cup of pumpkin-spiced latte and watch the street full of signs and slogans. And silently say... not today, IKEA, not today...

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