The Absolute Truth About Marketing
Monday, January 23, 2006
  Is Marketing evil?
Thank you to the anonymous visitor who left the following comment on the blog "Turning human beings into revenue streams":

Anonymous said...
If you're lying on your deathbed thinking about work - at all - you're fucked anyway.
Yes, it would be nice to look back and feel that you didn't waste your time selling crap to people.
But, if you're in marketing, that's exactly what you're doing. Whether you're selling Happy Meals or the Bible. It's part of the gig.
You think religous guys aren't in marketing? If you're getting paid, you're guilty.
Do it from the heart (and for no payment) and you may get a seat at the good table.

My response to that is:

But if no one's getting paid, Anonymous Visitor, how can there be anything on the table? Is it only people in marketing who should not be paid for what they do? What makes marketing 'selling crap to people'? Is a Harley Davidson crap? A Martin guitar? What about a decsion to stop smoking? A decision to stop using highly toxic chemicals in a water catchment area? A decision to stop supporting wars in foreign countries? You think political and environmental activists aren't in marketing? And they're getting paid. Are they guilty too? So is it the process we call marketing that is so evil, or is it the particular products and services some people sell that offend you? My point about the death bed realisation was that spending your life accumulating money is a pretty empty way to live when it means you see other people solely as sources of revenue. But when you look at people and respond to them as individuals seeking fulfilment, you can connect with them in a more satisfying way. The process called 'marketing' is used to compete for a person's attention and custom. It is value neutral. The content - the products and services it is used to promote - is not value neutral. From my values I could not actively promote alcohol, tobacco, unhealthy foods, polluting manufacturers' products, products derived from mistreating people or animals, products that cause people to neglect their families (gambling), and organisations that support socially regressive behaviour like gun ownership and wife beating and child abuse. But that's just me. I also object to organisations which bullshit people about the state of the world for political ends - and by these I mean the modern equivalent of Paul Ehrlich and the Club of Rome and similarly irresponsible environmental organisations who predict that the world will run out of (here insert the commodity of the moment) food, fuel, oxygen, water, etc. sometime soon, that some environmental catastrophe is about to befall us... and when it doesn't are nowhere to be found, replaced by the next set of environmental jeremias touting their chicken little scary scenarios. And the scientists who distort the facts to support these ideologues (it is always the free enterprise system and corporations at fault, always corporations, a curious common thread). Paul Ehrlich, who made a career out of predicting that the world would run out of oil in the 1970s, shamelessly denies today that he was making predictions. The Club of Rome was a self-appointed bunch of self-described experts who scared us all into thinking we'd be living in caves (those that were left after global environmental holocaust) by 1985. Every generation spawns its own crop of chicken littles. Now do these people get a seat at the good table, I wonder? But again, that's just me.

I welcome vigorous debate in this blog. Thank you, Anonymous Visitor #1. (I'll call you AV#1 until you supply a different pseudonym. Are you the guy who left a comment about McBadExperience, about McDonalds being evil? I detect a similarity in your writing style.)
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