It sounds a bit like a classic paradox, doesn’t it – a huge but subtle industry? That’s exactly what the subtle marketing industry is though – a colossal monster which has its upside and probably more than its fair share of points of concerns as well. We explore the subtle marketing industry and look at some real world examples of the practice in action.
What is subtle marketing?
The subtle marketing industry is about more than just the psychology which goes into existing marketing channels, such as subliminal messages delivered during one of those classic, corny television commercials, contained in sales copy and in shopping environment arrangements (like candy placed at the check-out counters, deliberately at kids’ height eye-line level). Subtle marketing is an entire industry unto itself, where the marketing is not so obvious and sometimes doesn’t appear to be advertising at all.
The darker side of the subtle-marketing industry
There is a real dark side to the huge subtle-marketing industry, to such an extent that it has even been referred to as the shadow marketing or ghost marketing industry. We’re talking here consumer tracking via your mobile phone, your computer and other devices which are connected to the World Wide Web in some or other way. An example which has even been featured on the news is that of how social networking platforms create shadow profiles of users who may not even have profiles on those social networks, just so that they can track them and sell their data to advertisers who in-turn want to target specific products to sell to those users.
Things get really creepy, with the likes of remote access to your mobile phone’s microphone and your movements via the GPS contained in your phone. Advertisers can effectively see exactly where you go, how long you spend there and through credit card data, they can also tell what you spend your money on and how much of it you spend.
White-hat subtle marketing practices
There is a less sinister side to this huge subtle marketing industry however, such as how a law firm specialising in worker’s compensation would publish some legal advice with absolutely no sales pitching. As a result, because of the value contained in the content published in this way, as a consumer who might need those services later you’d remember the publisher and look them up to possibly take up their services. Another example which has us remaining in the legal realms is that of offering free consultations. At Snow Carpio & Weekley you can call or email for a free consultation, for instance, which acts as a gateway to what would naturally be a paid service in some or other way, with the indication being that payment can perhaps be completed only if the case is won or if the free evaluation suggests that the case is likely to be won and so compensation is a highly likely outcome.
Ultimately when it comes to the darker side it’s a trade-off between privacy and relevance, because there will probably be times when you’d be glad to have the relevant service provider come in with just the right offer you need. With the white-hat side of the equation however, it’s all good, because nobody is getting hurt, both parties are benefitting and nobody’s privacy is violated.