Why Is “Smart” Marketing So Dumb?


I’m not impressed with “smart” marketing. I’ve received smart (targeted) ads for:

  • Lacrosse equipment (a sport I have no interest in)—because I bought Lacrosse gear for a nephew who was into it for three months when he was 14 (he’s now 22).
  • Girl Scout activities in Burlington, Vermont—because a person I don’t know, who leads a Vermont Girl Scout troupe, once connected with me on LinkedIn.
  • Invitations to friend Brazilian nuns (on Facebook) who speak only Portuguese—because I have English-only speaking church friends in the U.S.A.

I once read an article about doomsday preacher Harold Camping, who predicted the Apocalypse in 2011 (Update: it still didn’t happen), and for a year after that I received offers to buy camping gear.

Ah, but smart marketing is more sophisticated now. Right?

Here’s my latest:

I live in Cincinnati, a 45-minute drive from Dayton, Ohio, so when I’m planning to fly somewhere I often check to see if airfares are cheaper from there. Result? I now get updates…every…single…day…on “specials” from Cincinnati to Dayton. Flying from Cincinnati to Dayton (factoring in drive time to the Cincinnati airport, which is roughly the same distance away as Dayton, check-in, flight, deboarding, and car rental): 2 ½ hours.

Ah, but what about the cost? After all, that 45-minute drive to Dayton and back eats up $8.00 worth of gas money! Trip Advisor, on the other hand (the ones sending me the “smart” ads), can fly me there and back for as little as $500!

Wait a minute…

Are there really $500 (sale-priced) flights from Cincinnati to Dayton? Apparently there are. More to the point: Are there actually people stupid enough to purchase those flights?

Here’s what I’ve figured out: Computers aren’t dumb, people are. On the other hand, there’s a silver lining: As long as computers are programmed by people we’ll never have to worry about a Terminator-style apocalypse. Instead, the robots will show up in 2011 (finally proving Harold right!), buy camping gear, and book $500 flights to Dayton to watch Brazilian nuns play Lacrosse with Girl Scouts from Vermont!

P.S. If you’re seeing this post, it’s because you were strategically targeted due to your interest in “fluff pieces” (down pillows on sale today only!) written “by Mitch Teemley.”

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Mitchellaneous, Popular Culture & Entertainment and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Why Is “Smart” Marketing So Dumb?

  1. simplywendi says:

    🙂 Amen! I am thankful “they” are only so smart.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good one, Mitch.😂😂😎

    Liked by 2 people

  3. And this is why I don’t waste money promoting products on social media.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’ve been getting ads for table saws …

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I once looked at a chair for sale, now my internet life is furnished with chairs & more chairs. All sorts of items are piling up on the chairs because I searched for a fashionable purse for my daughter’s birthday. Dozens of purses are piled on the chairs which are also draped with fashion apparel the “smartazz” marketing world thinks I need to go with the purse I didn’t buy. The latest drop on my screen are a pair of stiletto heels that tie at the ankle with biker chain. I mean, really.

    I have no idea how Zillow got into the mix, probably because they see how crowded things are getting with all the chairs, (which now have accompanying tables and rugs). but anyway, Zillow offered a home in a place I would never want to live for only $2,950,00 (now reduced). So my credit rating must be WAY better than I ever thought.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Eliza says:

    So maybe I should untarget myself? I usually don’t notice the ads to be honest, although on the odd occasion I’ve realised it was targeted.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You’re spot on! I was on the phone months ago with my sister-in-law, and I mentioned that I missed eating cereal and wished there was such a thing as low carb cereal. Got off the phone, and there on FB was an add for – you guessed it – low carb cereal. I had never looked it up and didn’t even know it was a thing. I don’t laugh anymore when people say “they’re” listening to us!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Kim Smyth says:

    But they insist no one is tracking us right?! My husband and I joke about it all the time, I will mention something to him while sitting in the living room (where our Google home is btw) and the next day, ads for whatever I mentioned are everywhere! I can’t think of a specific item at the moment, but it matters not, most of your readers have mentioned getting the same result, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. alsavignano says:

    Alan King could not have told it better!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Tina says:

    Lol. 😀 You’re writing about fluffy things, and I’m writing about puffy things. Lol. Nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That’s why I use an ad blocker.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Terrifying, actually. 😳

    Liked by 1 person

  13. lprslr says:

    But I swear, it’s so fun to mess with the smart marketing… I look up off-the-wall things then laugh hysterically when the ads start to appear. As for Siri, it stopped bothering me when I called it a dumb a**…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh my gosh! Yes!!!!! Ha ha ha ha ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jane Sturgeon says:

    George Orwell was ‘spot on’ and your post made me laugh, Mitch. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Niki Flow says:

    That Dayton lacrosse match sounds fab. I hope they bring cookies. Fun post, Mitch. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Jane Tawel says:

    LOL! P.S. I was born in Springfield, Ohio and lived my youth across the Midwestern states. No wonder I like your worldview and sense of humor so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ann Coleman says:

    Ha! I think your prediction may just be true.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hmmm….interesting thought. I would love to see a movie where Arnold the Terminator comes back as a Three Stooges fan.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Smart marketing or marketing is just something short & to the point. On TV, they only have 15 seconds to run an ad. I do ads all day long & you really need to find out a lot & spend a lot of time just to make ads that work. I really love how you make your smart marketing on the 4 things that you engaged in; just once. Marketing that really changes how you look at products now or in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Parth Bhatia says:

    Smart marketing only works if we do a smart targeting. If the same advert is shown to all the viewers (as in the case of the Television) you can never achieve the results as in case of e-marketing. Secondly, at times you may not even know the full product range of a particular “sports” company and they may provide you with products you never imagined they would stock. For instance, sports persons may need some anti-pain sprays. Depending upon the local laws you may get to see one in the sports store.


  22. It is our responsibility to clear our activities every once in a while to refresh stuff like that. Clear your history and you might have a better experience, online.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. RodriguezDMA says:

    Very funny and quick read. I agree that these mistargeted or unfocused targeting is indicative of user error!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Fantastic I loved it! This article is very helpful for me. Thanks for sharing with us.


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