The Ugly Side of Innovation: Cyberbullies and the Perils of High-Tech Marketing

Just a few decades ago, you would probably only come in contact with a few people a day, unless you went to a big gathering or major event. Now, you likely communicate with—or read posts from—thousands of friends, followers, and contacts on various social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. The fact is that some of the texts and posts you read, videos you view, and voice conversations that you have are positive but others are negative. We get the good news instantly, but the bad news too. We receive encouragement and build others up. But the ugly side of innovation is that we now run into cyberbullies who may not always say the nicest things. Because, let’s face it, it’s easier to say what you really mean when you don’t have to look someone in the eye.

But this is in the personal arena of social media. When it comes to business, being able to contact more people quickly is always more efficient, right? I mean that’s why brands pay millions for an ad spot during the super bowl. Millions of people will see it, so the effect that demographics could have on your ad is minimized. Thus, there is considerable opportunity to make a huge impact.

However, bigger doesn’t always mean better in the marketing world either. There’s only one super bowl per year. The other 364 days we have to figure out which one of the hundreds of channels our potential customers are going to be watching. We need to know which of the millions of websites they will surf to.

Is it easier to reach the masses? Yes. Is it easier to reach your target audience? Not necessarily. In fact, it may actually be more complicated than ever and we can thank technology for this.

Now, the burden is on us to figure out how to actually catch the attention of those picky consumers who weren’t targeted but may accidently be seeing our ad. How? What’s the magical secret?

Deep down, no matter how people think, where they live, or how old they are, everyone has a set of values. Nations and cultures develop a value system too, which can also become a part of the ugly side of innovation. Certainly, we face a mess that innovation has made out of targeted marketing; one that we now have to sort through.