Apr 19, 2009

The oldest job in the world

Although people usually consider prostitution as the oldest job in the world I rather think one of the oldest (if not THE oldest) is marketing.
Since man is man, he has always tried to convince the rest of men surrounding him that he was either the best or the stronger or the better.

Among all forms of Marketing, Direct marketing has to be the first.
While technologies evolved from roars to emails and SMS, the basics remain the same:
Address someone or a small group of people to get them to do what you want them to.
Since then two main trends appeared: Brute force and physical domination on one hand and incentive and seduction on the other one.

When the first can only be reliable when the "marketer" is at a reasonable short distance of the "marketed", the second one can be efficient on a long range.
Indeed: Brute force only prevails when people are close enough to either be hit on or at least feel the threat and defer to it.
Even today, brute force still exists, it's more about leadership and supremacy. For instance, a dictator cares very little about seducing the people to get them to do something (although most of them had to seduce to get there in the first place).
This type of Marketing needs a constant domination, The "marketed" are aware they are free to chose and therefore once the oppression disappears, they change to other (often opposite) "products".

Seducing and getting people to do things through incentive is more subtle. It also has the big advantage to give the "marketed" the impression he is in command.
It's not only an impression, with this kind of marketing, the "marketed" ones are the ones that will take the final decision.

All this just to point out that if methods evolve, the means remain the sames, whatever marketing campaign you run you need to remember the following:
1 - You are addressing human beings that have the ability to think
2 - You have to give a reason to these people to buy your product or to register to your service (or to vote for you)
3 - People love to feel they are in command, and the ISPs and IT companies gave them this power (Spam buttons, Popup blocker, images blockers,...) over you
4 - You have to either adapt your message to what your target expects or wants to hear, or target your audience according to what you want to tell.
5 - You have to keep the relationship live, just like a love affair, not too present nor distant.

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