Monday, 14 November 2011

Marketing in London

On Monday, I was waiting for a friend at Tottenham Court road tube station reading an article about the use of marketing and appropriate targeting of customers in order to provide a better experience and lower cost service in the retail banking industry. Last week I was participating in a marketing training course. I don’t have a background in marketing; I have performed no formal study in that area. The extent of my practical application of marketing merely touches on the outskirts of campaign and event management. However, since my new job involves more marketing type work, I thought it would be a good time and opportunity to ‘upskill’.

I was amazed at what I learnt. Not because it was so intellectually amazing, most of the things I was told seemed like common sense, but because I did not realise how large a scope marketing is. I had previously thought of marketing as advertising, events, sales campaigns. It is actually much more than the communication side of things. Lots of emphasis is put on planning, strategy, analysis of customer groups, establishing an identity. There is a lot more analysis involved than I realised. The work we did on analysis really shocked me. It was scary to think of the amount of information companies like Facebook, Google, and Tesco can hold on you. It made me reconsider whether marketing really is evil.We did not discuss the ethics of marketing on the course, but I think we should have.

As long as I have known him, my boyfriend has told me how evil marketers are. I had assumed he believed this because his found advertising so annoying. Both because adverts can be ridiculously cheesy and also because they can sometimes be inaccurate (e.g. the vacuum cleaner ad that referred to a vacuum working on the same principal as a black hole with the absence of gravity). It certainly ranks highly on his hate list. I think the more sinister undertone is the level of detail marketers can go to with customer profiling, so they can portray things in a way which customers are most likely to buy because it impacts on them emotionally.

On the course I was told an example of a large football club that was selling mortgages to its fans. The mortgage product was not hugely competitive, certainly not best in
the market, and yet people were buying it. They ran some focus groups to work out why people were buying it. They seemed to fall into two groups: the first group of people did not like banks and thought they would rather give their money to the club than the banks (even though this was actually just a white labelled product from a bank anyway – which they did not realise), the second group really trusted the club and thought that the club was bound to have done their research to find the best product for them. When I heard things like this I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the people!

On the other hand there were examples of adverts that seemed generally loved and generated public excitement and support. I thought this De Beers Diamonds unbreakable kiss campaign seemed great. There are also adverts that play on comedy that people react well to. Therefore I do not think all marketing is evil. Just some applications of it. ;) I don't know if the major professional bodies give due consideration to marketing ethics.

No comments:

Post a Comment