In ancient times, when the world was young and Yellow Pages adverts still worked, marketing was a them and us game – cat and mouse on a vast scale.
Two sides lined up; unwitting uneducated buyers on one side, and the forces of dark marketing massed on the other side, as yet hidden from view and silent.
The dark marketers nefarious plans were complete. Focus groups of captured buyers passed intelligence of the buying weaknesses of their family and friends.
Battle plans were drawn and ancient knowledge collected from “The Art of War”, and “How to Win Friends and Kill Everyone Else”.
High value “target” lists were built.
Knowing well their products and services, the habits of their buyers and the field of battle, the forces of darkness began their attack.
Slowly, like a herd of sheep scenting a wolf, the unwitting masses became aware that they were being interrupted, but before they could react they found themselves in the middle of an advert. Horrible, tacky, annoying and dripping in irrelevance. All they could do now was weather the storm and try not to buy.
When the fog of marketing lifted, so many wallets, bank accounts and wits were layed waste that the dark marketers knew they were victorious, and they rejoiced. Great buyers remorse fell onto the vanquished and they knew no hope.
The Blackness of Night
The forces of darkness then began phase 2 of their evil assault. After market penetration reached a certain percantage they began dropping the quality of their products and services in the certain knowledge that any higher quality competitor was going to have to out spend them, while also making lower margins due to the higher running costs of making good quality products.
Over time, quality was dropped as low as the law would allow.
For the longest time, consumers munched their dog food in silence.
The coming dawn
No night, however black lasts forever, and unknown to the dark marketers a great change was coming that would threaten their very existance, putting them under such great and persistant pressure, that many would wonder if their was a future for men such as they.
Slowly the ancient battlefield began to change.
Like dawn chasing away the night, the world wide web began to eluminate the battlefield with free information.
In their arrogance most of the men of dark marketing paid it no mind, but after a while, some of their number began to use and abuse the growing world wide web. Slowly the ancient tactics of paper, radio and TV began to fall away and gave rise to new tactics of dark digital marketing. The SPAM emails were said to be so numerous they could block out the sun.
The tactics changed greatly, but the hideous goals and evil strategies remained the same – conquer the herd like buyers through a flood of messages every where they go.
No prisoners, no surrender, no mercy, never stop marketing at them.
The buyers revenge
Meanwhile, unknown to the practitioners of Dark Marketing, the world wide web was bringing change to the buyers, who more and more where not unwitting, herd-like peasants.
Truly information is power.
Slowly the unwitting masses became more and more educated.
As the buyer’s knowledge and access to information grew, the dark marketers found their arts were less and less successful, and they found plans oft thwarted.
How can you convince a man to buy junk, when he knows it is junk?
How can you tempt a man to stay at The Roach Inn when he has read about your terrible service on www.tripadvisor.com?
The Dark Marketers became ever more desparate, but the tide had turned against them. Daylight had revealed the truth to those who they persecuted so long, and they had found that rather than powerless bovine creatures doomed to consume, they were in fact the only ones with power.
The buying power of the masses was born.
The World Moves On Into Broad, Sunlit Uplands
As the power of the dart arts fell away, many marketers that were of good heart who had been held in thrall by the men of darkness, and who previously had no option but to compete or starve began looking for better, more wholesome ways to live, and they were joined by common men who saw the good they did and wanted to help.
Together they realised that if marketing could be used to help the buyers, then they would become educated buyers, and rather than buying through being interrupted, bullied and harrased they may start buying through growing trust, need and desire.
This gave rise to a new marketing art – inbound marketing.
Slowly but surely many of the dark marketers realised that it was more profitable, and far more enjoyable to help not hunt, and many came over to the light.
The ones that stayed grew ever more isolated and bitter, and the kingdom of Google did vex and smite them greatly.
So now, we who have lived through the marketing wars can view today’s battlefield with different eyes, and what do we see today?
Instead of dark vs light, them vs us, in classic and clear opposition, we see a growing community based on engagement and trust, as the no longer dark marketers become part of a world wide community. No longer interrupting and harrassing, but helping with useful, free and timely information greatly desired by modern, educated buyers.
The Darkness – Dimished
The dark marketers still exist, and maybe they always will, but they exist on the fringes of what is no longer a battlefield, but a world wide community.
Maybe they still see it as a battlefield, but no one else does.
While you can still see the slings and arrows of outragous marketing around us, we are becoming more able to skip, ignore, block and delete them, clearing a path to free and useful content from all manner of experts and specialists.
So the next time evil marketing has an effect on you, don’t get mad nor raise a hand to smite. Instead consider with pitty the dark marketer who attacked you. Maybe he or she knows they are doomed and maybe not.
But ultimately doomed is what they are.
Stay tuned for more dark marketing tales and parables, and do check out our other blog posts and ebooks.
We fight for the light – join us!