Research Summary

Marketing Intrusion and Consumer Resistance

by John A. Deighton


Although marketing is customarily described as the process of identifying and satisfying consumer needs, its history can also be read as progressive refinement of the arts of intrusion and surveillance on the side of the seller, from door-to-door selling through direct mail to cookies on browsers.   Early in the Internet era, it looked as if new powers were about to be available to marketers.  Data profiling and digital media would allow for deeper targeting and more intrusion into consumers’ lives than broadcast marketing ever could.  However the technologies that enabled intrusion have also enabled defense against intrusion. Tivo, Caller ID and a new generation of consumer-side technologies, as well as consumer access to video broadcasting on YouTube and other  social media, are giving consumers ways to assert privacy and respond to unwelcome intrusion. This research project explores the play between intrusive marketing and consumer resistance.