Marketing Technologies Weaponized Marketing

Marketing stacks and technology promised to provide intelligent, signal-responsive, targeting – to basically ‘mind read’ – and thoughtfully match us to helpful products and services. It was to be a long-awaited era of enlightenment and courtesy. This did not happen. In fact, the opposite happened. Marketing was weaponized, and the spoils now go to the 3% of marketers who pair Web 2.0 ‘selective consumption’ psychology with the tech tools of the day.

Sophisticated targeting tools, search and web histories, cross-platform user profiles, user-generated content on social media sites, predictive analytics, behavioral analysis, and engagement analytics; smart phone location and audio signals; massive data analytics and even AI computing power – effectively mind-reading capabilities – were supposed to usher in an enlightened age of vendors proffering thoughtful solutions to just the right problem, at just the right time, in just the right way. 

Instead, we’re daily being abused by these tech marketing stacks, platforms, and technologies. There is nothing courteous or intelligent about it. 

Instead, we got something disruptive and dumb. We got phones that listen to to private conversations and offer things said in passing. We got spam emails. We got banner ads that follow us around the Internet. 

The truth is we got some of what we wanted. We got a pairing or a matching of us to products; they do seem to know what we want. But the technologies without the understanding the buyers drive the Buyer Journey, and that it’s a selective consumption economy, where buyers research and choose at their convenience, have really weaponized marketing.

What most of the companies whose ads we see every day (and ignore) don’t realize, as they offer content that is seller-centric, is that sales are buyer-driven, and therefore buyer-centric content is in order.

This is how modern marketing – over-utilizing ‘technology’ – works. This is what happens when you don’t realize buyers drive the Buyer’s Journey with search and that they don’t want to see your brochures or ads. They want to discover content and find you their way, on their terms, in their timeframe.

Buyers want to slow down, to search, get to know and consider options before buying. 

So, the targeting has never been better, and most marketers and companies think that’s sufficient. But it’s not. 

Look at click-through rates. About 2% for search, .2% for display (newer statistics say 1.91% for paid search, and .35 for display – which is shown much more frequently). That means 99.5% of the time (the weighted average) – even when you have exact keyword or search term alignment nobody wants to click your ad.

The practice of marketing technology being mistaken for ‘marketing’ continues, actually up-cycling as more and more ‘marketers ruin marketing’ (Gary Vaynerchuk); ad-tech platforms offering diminishing returns and newfangled ad-tech platforms offer temporary gains for mediocre marketers before they, too, become ineffectual. 

Indeed, marketing has been weaponized, intentionally or not. It’s downright abusive – the level of disruption and interruption the average consumer brooks on a day-to-day basis.

We now have the technology to literally stalk and harass people – at scale – using a stack or concatenation of  tools. This is not ‘marketing’

Here is a drill-down into that up-cycle:

  1. Low-hanging technology attracts a glut of unskilled and/or amateur marketers. 
  2. The public stops responding; 
  3. Demand (from marketers) drives a company to create a new modality of interruption marketing.

This cycle could be averted if ‘pull’ marketing were more widely used; if content marketing were embraced.

We aren’t dismissing all marketing technology. We’re saying it doesn’t address how people actually buy today; we’re saying that it offers limited wins.

Ad-tech and mar-tech are best utilized when they are repurposed toward content marketing and the New Rules of marketing.

Because most marketers’ attitudes haven’t really evolved with the technology, they are now unwittingly merging aggressive, 1950’s ‘Don Draper’, ‘Push’ marketing, approaches with powerful marketing technology – a ‘worst of both worlds’.

But there is a consolation: because marketing is so often done incorrectly, the distribution of wins is now heavily-skewed to companies who know this secret, and who market correctly.