Thana-marketing (from the MAANZ Glossary www.marketing.org.au/glossary_of_marketing_terms.
“The systematic, covert, and (initially) profitable maltreatment of target customers through the use of misleading and deceptive marketing practices.”
Thana is short for a Latin word "Thanatos", which means 'dark' or 'bad'..Thana marketing refers to the systematic, covert, and (initially) profitable maltreatment of target customers through the use of misleading and deceptive marketing practises.
A Thana marketing mix represents a 'hidden set' of interrelated Ps (the "8Ps that dare not speak their name" according to Mark Wickham ) that potentially comprise a mix of management conduct and philosophy that corrupts the marketing concept and underpins society's contempt for marketing and immoral business practices.
Thana-Marketing Mix categories include: (1) Misleading representations; (2) Misleading pricing; (3) Price-fixing; (4) Anti-competitive practices; and (5) Harassment.
The 8 P’s of the Thana Marketing Mix
The eight (Thanet-Marketing mix P's suggested by Mark Wickham in a Journal article "Thana-marketing strategy: exploring the 8ps that dare not speak their name" are:
Promise breaking - Any promise by the firm to provide a product (goods or services) with no intention to do so
Postponement - Any act that serves to delay or deny the supply of information/products/services to the consumer. It may also refer to a firm’s attempt to deny the consumer their right to complain, cancel orders or seek compensation for damages. ;
Procrastination - Any act that serves to delay the firm’s agreed rectification of a product or service failure. It may also extend to delaying a consumer’s wish to cancel their contract/relationship with the firm;
Pretence - Any act or omission by a firm that serves to establish a false expectation in the consumer’s mind (upon which the consumer acts) concerning the delivery/operation/return of a product or service. For example: provide false or misleading information; the firm relying upon ambiguity in contract negotiations; including illegal caveats in contract negotiations.;
Presumption Any act by a firm that assumes facts in to a transaction not agreed to by the consumer. For example: that an agreement included a minimum term contract that the consumer must honour; that the firm may charge additional fees due to ambiguous clauses included in any fine-print.;
Persecution - Any punitive act or threat by a firm that seeks to bully the consumer in to ceasing their actions or claims against it. Examples include: cancelling services, actual reporting of the consumer to credit agencies, suspending the client’s services but continuing to charge their credit cards/bank accounts;
Pressure - Any act by a firm that attempts to bully the consumer into submission. For example: harassment for ‘non-payments’ of disputed accounts; service staff trained in the delivery of verbal abuse; threats to report the consumer ;
Protestation - Any act by the firm that denies responsibility for any wrongdoing and/or product or service failures. It may extend to the firm shifting blame for any obvious product or service failures to the consumer and their role in the transaction. For example: blaming the consumer’s computer set-up or software for Internet service failures; blaming after-sales service failures on 3rd parties to the transaction.
Another example would be major banks’ efforts to minimise the number of costly face-to-face transactions they process by ‘under servicing’ this customer segment and by emphasising the relative ease and convenience of online banking or ATM services.
While de-marketing strategies are usually legitimate and formulated to maximize the value proposition a firm is able to present to their desired (i.e. most profitable) target customer segments (Gordon, 2006; Wall, 2005). By eliminating unprofitable segments, or removing its offerings from certain market positions, firms are able to focus their allocation of resources more effectively, and to establish a well defined and more easily defensible market position.
Thana-marketing strategy however is the purposeful development of programs to sucker in target markets to exploit them.
While the marketing strategy literature has largely focused on the positive aspects of marketing and de-marketing strategy, there appears to be a neglected area of marketing strategy that deals with the maltreatment of profitable customer segments (or ‘desired target customers) for the same end of maximizing return on investment.
There is ample evidence in the court system of firms attempting to covertly and deliberately diminish their customer value propositions, not for the purposes of de-marketing but rather to maximise their return on investment by reneging on their commitments to the customer.
This covert and deliberate marketing strategy (thana-marketing strategy) is largely intuitive in nature (i.e. many people readily espouse their belief that business and marketing is inherently unethical) and warrants further investigation. Research since the year 2000 seeks to explore the
(Based on an idea originally raised by Frank Voehl in the MAANZ Smarter Marketing group on LinkedIn and the work of Mark Wickham – referenced above)