Exploitative Businesses & Divine (and Tech) Interventions

When I wrote ‘Design the Future’ about Design Thinking, it had a brief overview of the behavioural aspects of innovation – from an innovator’s and user’s perspective.
 
There was a mention of nudges (not sure I used the term though).
I have been of the (possibly obvious) view that, as companies get increasingly sneaky, especially when selling ill-health or stuff we don’t necessarily need, that despite how creative their marketing gets, customers too keep pace by becoming resistant to the nudges.
 
I also think the Ben Franklin Effect probably wears off, and that people aren’t exactly suckers to keep giving. Of course, it varies for people, their preferences, value trade-off, etc.
 
Unless business are sincerely trying to benefit or create a good habit in customers, I’ve personally never been a fan of exploitative nudges. Which is why, while some soft drink or fast food ads and initiatives are creative and impressive, you know it isn’t promoting something great in customers.
 
Two recent events seemed to be a sort of divine intervention to nudges and business practices that aren’t exactly in the best interest of customers.
 
First, Cristiano Ronaldo removing Coca-Cola bottles during a press conference at the Euros coinciding with a $4bn fall in the company’s share price. Nothing against the company in particular, but not a fan of global giants that proudly continue to promote ill-health.
 
The Second, email marketing. While useful to businesses including mine to spread the word, it also has become increasingly sneaky in that they closely track numerous user interactions. I recently got an email about an offer. Opened the email because the subject line was interesting, but immediately realized I didn’t need it. Instantly, the next mail appears, asking if there was something missing in the offer (previous mail). That was pushing it.
 
As per developments discussed at Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that ended about a week ago, Apple will be putting more limitations on email marketing and in-app advertising. They’ll likely be preventing marketers from knowing when users have accessed their emails, among other features.
 
During a recent project with a company trying to create a positive habit in customers, the analytics team had a list of around 140 data points/actions on the app to track. I found some more to take the tally to 200. While the overarching service is beneficial to customers, I wasn’t overly proud of my contribution and faced the moral dilemma of whether we should track so much, or simply create a more effective user experience that might achieve the dual objective: one for the customer and one for the company.
 
Interesting how some businesses offer invasive tech to businesses, and other businesses offer defense against such tech in the form of new features on their products.
 
 
4 Comments
  1. Swati

    In business actually customer is God as the company selling products , no matter what, goods or ideas , they are useless if their are no buyers , so to tempt them for the product and convincing them to purchase it is the prime task of any business … Doing the best in what one sells is must, as when once the customer ready to buy it , they should not be disappointed . Advertising is a part of business , out of sight out of mind so one has to constantly make efforts of being noticed for the better sales. Innovation and new ideas launched are a must factor and that what makes one business compete other and thus the ones with great
    marketing skills are hired by companies .
    The basics is this is a part and parcel and one needs to be techie enough to use best possible ways to use the technology to max for better sales. All good,. provided they don’t cheat customer stick to quality they guaranteed…
    A view of a customer

    • Shrutin N Shetty

      True, Swati.
      I felt businesses too should be responsible in selling what is good (or healthy) for customers, rather than selling with a focus only on sales and profitability.

      • Swati

        Yes ofcourse shrutin, its there prime duty and integrity towards the job they are in

        • Shrutin N Shetty

          True.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *