I started thinking about this when I was typing my previous blog post about Google having the Holy Grail. As a marketer, I’m always trying to figure out human behavioral patterns and how I can maximize my company’s profit from the understanding of this.
I had an interesting thread going on Facebook the other day. I was eating sushi at a restaurant and was watching the people around me, talking to each other, responding to conversations with various facial expressions, hand gestures, and vocal tones that varied in intensity. All of these ways of expressing themselves were based on emotion that was being outputted as a physiological response to conversational input they had just received from whoever was sitting across the table and having lunch with them.
I had posted a Facebook status stating that “Emotions are still math.” It was interesting to see people’s responses to this. The vibe I got is that it almost was considered offensive that I had said that. My only point was to acknowledge the fusion between the two concepts, not to minimize the importance of one over the other. Maybe my choice of words made it come off that way, “flattening” the value of emotion. [...stealing your descriptor Andy ]. This definitely was not my intention.
If you know me, I’m far more emotional and dramatic than your average person, half the time it’s to my detriment.
While I’m not necessarily referring to my friends on Facebook that participated in that conversation in my next statement here, for certain people I think it strokes a chord with them, like my statement was disregarding humanity on some blunt robotic level, not validating peoples emotions, converting the organic human aesthetic, all the things that mean so much to people, into 1′s and 0′s, basically saying that our entire population is just an abbacus made out of living tissue. My point with it was just that you can plug in formulas to patterns of human behavior. Patterns, whether abstract or linear, are still patterns, no matter how random we think the activity contained within those patterns actually is. I’m not the first person to say this and certainly not the last. Everyone learns this in Psych 1A their first year of college.
Is Business/Marketing Inherently Evil?
What I’m about to say here excludes non-profit organizations.
Successful marketers know that you need to recognize and understand behavioral data to make sound marketing decisions. This requires that on some level you convert what you see in human beings into a formulaic pattern so that you can run some numbers and calculate a risk. The goal of all that is to make more money. Period.
In reference to my “Emotions are still math” statement that kicked off the colorful convo on Facebook: If you are a marketing genius at a company that wants to grow, employ other human beings, beat your competition, understanding how to convert human emotion into dollars, does that make you evil? Smart? Shrewd? Heartless? All of the above?….or just someone trying to pay their bills?
I’m don’t know the answer…that’s why I’m asking.