2013-07-05

Marketing as the Priesthood of Narcissism

Idle brain capacity was spent on this today. I occasionally attempt literary (i.e. fuzzy) philosophy, out of boredom. Even then, a lot of these treatises seem to serve well as preambles to more analytical work.

Marketing as a business function, however you finely define it, is broadly involved in creation of relationships between transactors. The nature of these relationships may be defined as a transaction, in terms of an exchange of opportunity costs. I may have just abstracted out the intermediating goods and services of the transaction - but we'll worry about that some other time.

A transactor may be defined as a formal individual, whether it is a single organism of the species Homo sapiens, some other sort of mind or entity, or an organisation of entities.

Narcissism, for the purpose of this article, may be defined as a function of a transactor's (1) degree of self-consciousness (defined in terms of its informational/cognitive processes), and (2) willingness to spend resources on self-preservation versus its willingness to spend resources on the preservation of other transactors in its environment - where preservation of a transactor may be defined as any movement of resources that increases the competitive advantage (further defined in terms of biological selection) of that transactor within its environment.

Anyway, the brief thoughts I had around this regarded how marketers work to curate the transactor's awareness of choice. Choice can be described somewhat rigorously in terms of behavioral processes (too bad if you don't like flowcharts) that supervene over physical processes.

By developing a transactor's self-awareness of their ability to choose, when such awareness is initially lacking, a marketer effectively determines the mechanism of choice that the transactor finally deploys. Call this inception, manipulation, brainwashing, rhetoric, or just persuasion, if you will.

In order to develop such self-awareness in a transactor, a marketer must first ensure the development of the transactor's sense of self, or identity, i.e. the arguments by which the transactor parameterises its self-conscious distinction of what it counts as being under its (the transactor's) own control.

One of the components of conscious choice is the recognition of opportunity cost, a sacrifice.

Therein our preamble is complete. As each of the keywords above serves as a discrete starting point for any discussion about what it is that marketers do, to people, human, legal, or otherwise.

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