Dark Marketing: Behind the Curtain

It is Saturday morning at seven. Still not awake from your sleep you try to find your phone you fell asleep with last night. After a few seconds of not succeeding you hear a quiet beep. Here it is, under the bed, still on, still working as if someone dragged it there and played with all night long.

A shiver goes down your spine, confused you reach for it. Another beep burst out of the thin metallic thing, while holding it, you check what’s going on. Notifications, lots of them, must have been a Facebook’s newsfeed you think. A trip has been offered to Iceland, the place you dreamed to go to for a long time, catches your eye. Coincidence? What’s next? Pictures of wolves, new cameras suggestions and so on. Surprisingly, everything you like and are interested in. You are still on your bed, sitting, trying to figure out how it all got there. Is it because you liked something about Iceland on Facebook or that talk you have had with your friend mentioning how much you would like to go there? But how? A thought flashes through your mind “They are watching me”.

Who are they? How did it happen that sometimes our social media knows too much about us and in some cases becomes our close friend we need and become dependent on? The answer may not satisfy us because it is dark, it is Dark Marketing.

Dark Marketing, a new phenomenon in digital era that involves a non-verbal advertising that targets certain people. Why is it dark? This is because most people might not even realize that they are the targets of a campaign. People can become targets when they use social media websites like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and so on. They don’t always know that different agencies collect their data to make specific offers. It is not just something people like or subscribe to, but basic information like age, gender and location that helps advertisers make personalized offers. Personalized content might seem like a good idea for people but what is not realized is that the lack of transparency can have a negative effect and push them to something they might not be comfortable with.

By dividing content of a campaign and using parts of it on different social media websites, users become the target of dark marketing.

Surrounded by numerous advertisements and campaigns, we become the puppets of great mind players who stay unnoticed. Data collection benefits companies and is a powerful tool for advertising, but data in the wrong hands can become a tool of distraction. Can we escape it? It’s a matter of time. The choice is yours.

P.S. Though this is not taught in school, a person can be inspired to learn more by taking classes in marketing.

Madina Tash



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