Big Brother’s Watching You: Phone Marketing And How It Could Improve

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If you look around you next time you walk down the street, you’ll see a different sight to what you would have, say, ten years ago. It should become apparent fast that the vast majority of people have their heads in their phones. Most of us look through social media or messages while we walk, eat, and even talk with people around us. It’s not until you take the time to see it that you appreciate how far the phenomenon has gone.

With phone fever taking over, it’s no wonder businesses are jumping on the bandwagon. Before, companies relied on posters, and visual merchandising to appeal to customers. When we have our heads in our phones, companies need to find other ways to reach us. So, they send their marketing straight to our devices.

The irony of the age we live in is that we put everything out there, then feel violated if the wrong people see it. And, for the most part, the companies which target us weren’t our intended audience. So, we get angry and self-righteous about their new advertising techniques. Of course, some companies handle the issue better than others. Let’s take a look at when companies get phone marketing wrong, and what they could do to improve.

When it’s done badly

The chances are, you’ve had your fair share of unwanted advertising, so you should already have some idea of how far is too far. The main thing to note is targeted advertising. The majority of us dislike targeted ads on our Facebook pages. There’s something threatening about companies accessing our information. And, last week, an announcement suggested such adverts may attempt to correlate for whole families. Not only is that disconcerting, but it could cause problems. What if you’re buying a secret present, and the recipient receives an ad?

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Advertising also feels like a violation when companies rely on location services. Have you ever walked into a restaurant and instantly received a phone notification about it? Companies may think they’re smart, but it reeks too much of ‘we’re watching you’ for a lot of us.

When it’s done well

How about when it’s done well? It goes down much better when companies give the power back to us. Options like NFC smart posters allow the customer to access more information, but only if they want to. This is an efficient use of technology which doesn’t infringe on our rights. Of course, there is the risk people won’t see such ads. But, if companies make them eye-catching enough, we’re sure to take note.

And, though it seems contradictory, it’s worth mentioning targeted ads here, too. The family correlation is still a no-go, but there’s no denying that targeted ads can be useful sometimes. It may be that businesses need to find a middle ground. Perhaps users should be given a choice to opt in or out depending on their views. That way, there’s no violation, and we can return to our previously harmonious relationship with such companies.

Alice Jones

Alice Jones ()

Alice Jones is a recent addition to the Previous Magazine family. After being scouted from her popular well-being blog, Alice moved into journalism for Previous alongside her boyfriend Dan Booth. Alice also manages the Previous Magazine Instagram account and is an aspiring actress.