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I hate marketing

As each day goes by, I’m my hatred for advertising, marketing, and to a degree, capitalism is growing. I loathe when marketing runs contrary to technology and convienience. It has gotten to the point where it highly annoys me when people try to sell me things, no matter the method. I see it as a con, somebody is trying to make me part with money for an object I’m perfectly fine without. If I really needed something, I’d go out and buy it or improvise my own. I don’t need somebody else telling me I need to buy their widget.

Sex sells. This one annoys me the worst. People will stick a hot girl or guy (or even “secret sex tips to drive your man wild” for the reading crowd) on the cover, box, TV commercial, home page or whatever just to market it to the general population. And it works, extremely well. If it doesn’t result in a sale, it certainly results in attention which is a gold mine to a marketer (think booth bunnies).

I have truely gotten in the mindset that if it’s marketed with a hot girl, watch out — the girl is bait, somebody is trying to get me to spend money on something I wouldn’t otherwise. Whatever was actually sold, there has to be enough perceived value behind that hot girl to get the person to keep spending money again and again. This takes place over, and over, and over again.

Take Maxim for example (for sake of argument, we’ll pick one that doesn’t show nudity, but I believe it holds true for any), it shows hot girls on the cover and throughout the magazine to get you to buy the magazine. It throws in enough video game tips, football coverage, fashion tips and a few cocktail recipies to prop up the percieved value to coax you into subscribing. The rest is advertising to the age/gender demographic that happens to fall for that particular magazine By then, you’ve already paid money; the editors will put in the minimal amount of expense and effort to keep you buying that magazine.

Herding people to websites. Everyone does it, unsuccessful websites don’t. You’re either doing it for yourself — where you herd people to your web site so you can market your product on the hopes you’ll close sales; or you’re doing it for somebody else — herding people to your site to make people see/interact with advertisers and sponsors.

Tricks that require me to interact with a website when there’s viable time consuming alternatives

Let’s take MySpace for example. Social networking websites are pure money machines. When a friend (that you’ve suckered into joining, and laughed at them for doing so) sends you an email, MySpace will send your primary email account saying “you have a new MySpace message — log in to the website to read it!”

You’ve just sent me an email, asshole, why not send the actual message to me and make it more convienient for me? No, it will never happen, they want me to go to the website where I’ll be exposed to advertisers. And because I’m already there, I will stick around for a few minutes which exposes me to more advertising.

GMail did something that surprised me. It’s predominately a web-based service, yet they give you POP3 access so you can read your email without having to go to the website. I haven’t used that method to see what the catch is. POP3 is a pretty basic protocol, no frills there. IMAP offers way more functionality, but you’re not going to see it offered (Gmail please prove me wrong) because it’s going to reduce the amount of eyeballs going to the website to read those targeted ads.

Soda cap instant win games have actually taken a step BACK when it comes to convienence. Back in the day, you’d twist off the lid and it would tell you “you’re a winner” or “sorry, drink more.” Marketing got clever and started putting codes under the bottle caps like “X48JJP”, then tell you to visit a website to tell you if you’re a winner. Why? So they can grab your attention for a longer amount of time and try to market more to you. Maybe this works well because people like codes.

Gathering information from customers. “May I get your address?” “May I get your telephone number?” “Would you like to be on our mailing list?” My answer to these questions have always been no. I’ve gotten countless shocked looks because I refuse to give somebody my telephone number or ZIP code at the register. I must surely be some undesirable riffraff who doesn’t play the game! One might say, “it’s such a trivial piece of information”, but my response is it has absolutely nothing to do with the transaction — totally unnecessary. It wastes my time giving it out, zero incentive. *Maybe* every now and then they’ll need it for credit card verification, that’s fine (and usually unescapable).

My Marriott Rewards statement came in the mail today. Two inches of actual account information, accompanied by eight pages of Marriot marketing material. Why couldn’t they send this to me via email? If they did, would they send me an actual statement, bury it with marketing, or make me log into the website to view it?

Alas, I’m selfish. I’ve been in business long enough and played both sides of the game. I’ve mined data from my customer base to use to market and cross-sell (didn’t use any hot blondes though, maybe that’s where I went wrong). I’ve convinced people to spend money. When those same attempts are used against me, I get annoyed. Sigh.

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