Magazine article Marketing

Tyrell Warns of 'Consumer Apartheid'

Magazine article Marketing

Tyrell Warns of 'Consumer Apartheid'

Article excerpt

The impact of new technology on companies' ability to focus on their highest-value customers through direct marketing could result in brands creating a form of 'consumer apartheid', a leading marketing academic has warned.

Professor Bob Tyrell is chairman of the Paris-based consultancy Sociovision UK and visiting professor of marketing at City University Business School.

He yesterday told a conference of direct marketing professionals that data mining techniques could lead to companies creating an underclass of consumers who would be denied access to mainstream products and services.

"Data mining, relationship marketing and emerging applications of new technology could all contribute to the development of a consumer apartheid where brands create different levels of access to their products," said Professor Tyrell.

"Companies are inevitably going to focus on those customers who provide the most revenue and are the most valuable. The danger is that retailers, for example, will create tiered levels of service that deny access to less affluent customer segments. …

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