Target Marketers

Target Marketers

Somehow, I’ve ended up on some kooky “advertising powermonger” mailing list, and I’ve begun receiving the strangest trade magazines. Target Marketing has got to be the most infuriating of the bunch, simply because its pages imply that it’s perfectly OK to lay claim to any data that can be extracted from individuals in order to pre-select them as likely candidates for whatever the Man is pushing. “There are millions of stories in your customer data. All waiting to be sold.” Or so claims the ad from SAS Institute, a “data mining” specialist offering a “full range of models and algorithms.” I had no idea interrupting my dinner for a frequent traveller discount card was so complicated and scientific. Worse still are workshops that treat the duplicity inherent in the industry as not only acceptable, but a trivial byproduct of doing business. “The Paint Can Letter” tells us how copywriter Tom Gaffny, borrowing the voice of Covenant House executive director “Sister Mary Rose,” wrote a winner of a letter. The notes state that “West Coast guru Bob Hacker points out that the six great copy drivers in direct marketing are Fear, Greed, Guilt, Anger, Exclusivity, Salvation.” And you thought the Thought Police would be a government branch.

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