Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Marketing as Sociopathy

sociopath How do they sleep at night, after spending their working days helping corporate capitalists, at great expense and costs to end users, trick people into doing what the overclass requires, the planet and the people be damned?

Advertising Age today has a column by one Allie Savarino Kline, chief marketing officer at aspiring data scraper 33Across. Ms. Kline reports that, while “Google, Yahoo, Quantcast and my firm 33Across alone protect data on well over 2 billion people” and are moving to exploit that “big data” to map the “social DNA” that surrounds corporate brands, some marketers are hesitating to jump into that endeavor.

The frame of reference Kline chooses is telling:

These large data sets can help guide how and to whom brands advertise online. Yet, the data often go unused or misused — a gigantic missed opportunity.

Why? You could argue that it’s about privacy concerns, breaking consumer trust or being petrified to move forward. I’d argue it’s a maturity issue. Users of big data are in the midst of their awkward “tween” years.

These years signify a painfully self-conscious chapter in life where you’re still growing into your body, somewhat inept and hesitant about what to do next. Okay, let’s be honest, TERRIFIED about what do to next.

Knowing that this is just a temporary phase, you can do your best to get over your insecurities, and transition into your teen years.

To reach maturity as a corporate marketing operative is to “transition into your teen years.” Interesting analogy, no? It certainly rings true to me. If you spend any time, as I do, reading the first-hand professional banter and advice exchanged between marketing operatives, it does sound and feel rather like spying into the cool preppy partiers — the kids who took full and fully heedless advantage of their discovery of hormones and the first dawning of adult irresponsibility — back in high school.

Allie-Savarino-Kline That’s the background, though. What about the individuals? What drives the marketing sportos like Ms. Kline to jump on into the decadence? Kline again reports:

You have to put your chin up and power through it, voice cracks and all. Your reward: scoring with data that informs online and offline marketing campaigns, based on predictive insights gleaned from understanding consumers, their social and interest graphs and their behaviors.

“Everyone’s Doing It” and it’s Time to Join the “Cool Kids.” While peer pressure isn’t usually the right reason to do something, it is in this case. Now is the time to tap the bounty of data. You know in your heart that your success as a marketer depends on your ability to understand and extract relevant information. As Natalie Zmunda of AdAge wrote recently, article, “When CMOs Learn to Love Data, They’ll Be VIPs in the C-Suite.—And If They Don’t, They’ll Be Relegated to Overseeing Promotions While Someone Else Takes Chief Customer Officer Role.” The power of data is undeniable and since “everyone’s doing it,” why not just join the ranks and at propel your career?

Such is the stuff driving the main engine of American character these days. No wonder the society is hanging by a thread.

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Posted by Michael Dawson | Filed in A Culture of..., Assholes, Bad Products, Marketing Metastasis


One Response to “Marketing as Sociopathy”

  1. March 28th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Rollie said:

    That’s great that there’s a mechanism to get from adolescence to teen age. Did she say anything about actual adulthood, or, perish the thought, full maturity? Oh wait, those don’t exist in marketing! Like literally. Because anyone who reaches the maturity of middle age unavoidably grows out of that shitty career choice — if they’re not forced out by a newer, younger crop of sharks that is. Just yesterday Dmitri Orlov characterized this crowd as “always busy running away from their competitors lest they be eaten,” and you can see that dynamic at work here.



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