I don’t know if I should take this inspiration from sci-fi movies. Whenever we have visitors other worlds, they are talking only one message. Whether be it a friendly visitor like ET, or Mars attacks ;). But whenever they talked about the more evolved worlds, they considered every citizen of their planet as equal.
I’ll retrace my thoughts to an era, where Mahatma Gandhi was given credit for coining the term “Divide and Rule”, a political method to establish imperial rule over a colony. It has been noted through history, that during the British empire in India, there were separate electorates for people from different religions. There was encouraged partitioning based on regional demographics, language differences and gender differences.
What did all this lead to?
In effect, differences create conflict.
Throughout the course of history, whenever one sect or community considered itself inferior or superior to another group of people, there has been established the notion of conflict. We become lesser humans, and then driven through the various stages of conflict and its end results, we have removed peace from the very foundation of our society.
Now, let us look at how we view differences in terms of marketing. Today, the very same differences that one considers reasons for war, are tools for the marketer. Deciding upon a target audience or target group (TG). One can argue now, the tone of this article may be well directed against consumerism, but before going further, I am making an attempt to extend the earlier inspiration around bringing people of the world together using technology. And the attempt is doing so, by unifying groups under a single message.
To understand this, let us look at the typical approach a marketer has for his or her product. With a product in hand, a marketer tries to address questions around the persona and image that maybe associated with different genders using the product.
The price of the product may influence the economic demographics where it might be targeted. And let’s face it bluntly, but there are products that are even targeting the sexual orientation of individuals.
I am reminiscent of the era, when Coca Cola was the best known brand of the world. They had one product to offer, and anyone and everyone could enjoy that one product regardless of gender, age, caste, colour, creed, nationality or religion. Be reminded, this in no way must serve as an endorsement for Coca Cola, and that said, through the years, we have seen multiple new products emerge from the same company that have targeted audiences differently, but let’s not get into that.
I would like to direct the tone of this article to a point, where we have started using technology to create products and services that people can use, and while the internet should have been bringing together people that have once been separated by war, we have brands such as Google and Apple that are the world leaders in visibility; and they offer products that would otherwise have been niche if you consider their TG based on economic demographics. What is the net result? An increase in aspirations and competitiveness? Is competition giving rise to peace and bringing people together? Or are we moving away from the very aim that the technology was once created for?
If we can remove ignorance through the free flow of information, and make knowledge available to each and everyone, we will eliminate the very need of war. And together we will become a constructive society that will be living in peace with itself, in harmony with nature and be considered truly progressive. In effect, if marketing were to leave behind the bias of customer segmentation, and work on demand unification, we will see new product categories emerge. And the brands that will identify this space, and operate in it, will be able to tap into far larger markets, generate much higher returns – both in terms of social value and economic value. These values will really be put to use.
We need to think. And think again. Target audience of 7 billion. One world. One message.