A vice president of Internet sales and marketing for some of the world’s largest brands reveals the darkest secrets of social media marketing
New eBook Reveals Dark Secrets of Internet Marketing. Pictured Above: Machiavelli in a vortex of smartphones
Online PR News – 26-January-2013 –A new eBook that reveals the darkest secrets of Social Media Marketing has been called "one of the most dangerous books of the past ten years, because the big social media companies don't want people to understand just how ruthlessly they are being exploited."
The $2.99 eBook, Machiavelli's Guide to Social Media Marketing, was written by Martin Buber Alberti, who worked as a marketing manager for some of the world’s largest brands, including Intel and HSBC, and served as vice president of Internet sales and marketing for Bachrach, a venerable men's fashion firm established in 1871. The eBook reveals the four-part formula that is at the core of social media marketing:
—First, they break down your barriers
—Second, they exploit your vulnerabilities
—Third, they auction you off to the highest bidder
—Fourth, they create an addiction loop.
"Social media companies are increasingly turning to social psychology and neuroscience to understand how to optimize their temptation funnels. They have discovered that the best way to influence people is to communicate with the nonconscious brain—and then to induce a state of anxiety," explains Alberti.
Alberti, who worked alongside some of Madison Avenue's most storied advertising agencies, was shocked to hear the language that many marketers used to describe their customers. With the new science of vulnerability scores and gullibility tracking, the number of ways to categorize, target and market to consumers has exploded. Soccer moms are now called sucker moms. Senior citizens are senior pigeons. Teens and tweens are succumbing birds. Numbers junkies are deal zombies and coupon crazies. Millionaires are pampered patsies. Nostalgic consumers are sentimental saps. People prone to shopping sprees are spree stooges. People who sign up for freebies but never close the deal are decision fakers. People suffering from a mid-life crisis are fifties fools. Gay men who support certain causes are gullible gays. Suburban Muslims are turban commuters.
“Someone suffering from severe depression is like a plump chicken. The more depressed, the more profitable—and ready to be battered and fried.”
At the heart of the most cutting edge social marketing ecosystem is the auction, where companies trade data about their customers using Real-Time-Bidding (RTB). The eBook explains in detail how websites know, for example, if a visitor is a 36-year-old gay man from Minneapolis—because he told them or because they were able to aggregate data about him from other sources and figure it out—it can then go onto the RTB exchange and put him up for sale. The algorithms say, in effect, “Attention! We have a 36-year-old-gay man from Minneapolis with a six-figure income just entering our site! How much? We can serve him an ad wrapped around content of your choosing. Going once! Going twice! Gay man sold to the highest bidder for $3.48!” All of this is automated, of course, and happens in about a tenth of a second.
The eBook also reveals the latest neuroscientific findings about Groupthink and Crowd Manipulation, and applies these insights to social media.
"We are no longer hunter-gatherers; we are hunted-gatherers," explains Alberti. "Multilevel marketing has become multidevil marketing. The ads and planted news stories prod us to eat too much or too little, take drugs we do not need, and worry about things that, in the grand miracle of life, are really of no consequence."
Alberti is hardly alone in his concerns. Wenda Harris Millard, former chair of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, expressed concern that publishers were trading audience data “like pork bellies.”
The $2.99 eBook—a must for every social media marketer—ends on both a hopeful and provocative note. Hopeful, because it presents a vision for a different kind of social media network, one that supports and encourages the sorts of values that many Americans want. Provocative, because it includes an appendix with the most unsettling Machiavellian sayings that have become commonplace among many Madison avenue marketers. Here is just a small sampling:
The profit justifies the plan.
Someone suffering from severe depression is like a plump chicken. The more depressed, the more profitable—and ready to be battered and fried.
Depression and anxiety are gold mines.
Fear is more profitable than love.
The social media marketer is like a violin player; he plays the emotional tone scale, until the music he hears is money.
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