Warfare and marketing are nothing but a game of deception
“The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or ruin. Hence it is a subject is inquiry which can on no account be neglected " - Sun Tzu.
Reading his words on chalking a plan for war, which was followed on for many centuries by many greats in the battles they led, I find a striking similarity to what marketers do these days.
It begins with the game of deception, when a person is able to attack, seem not to. When using the forces, seem inactive, when near, make the enemy believe you're far away. When far away, make him believe you're near. If the opponent is having a cantankerous temper, irritate him, pretend to be weak, which will increase the arrogance, but if he's trying to take it easily give him no rest. So ultimately it is about attacking when he's unprepared and appearing where you and your forces are not expected.
Preparedness for a war begins here. So, is the forefront of marketing, in understanding the buyer behavior? I'm not saying there is no value being created at all, but in my personal opinion the cult status which certain brands enjoy and the premium which money-rich people are willing to pay(for certain products as simple as a shirt or a handbag) - just because they think a status is raised by owning and using it.
How does this deception work? Just as how humans, fish using baits, there are few people living mainly to carefully design these baits (by deceiving the user into believing it'll be the ultimate tool to upgrade the status quo.)
In a war front, the baits are to entice the enemy, feign disorder and then crush the enemy, here the end users are enticed and a disorder is set in their minds with the number of options to which they get exposed, and finally the best one to deceive, wins.
Yes, there is a value proposition created. If not the market will crash in a week, I'm only comparing the tool being used to play with the psych of the consumers and how it is used.
As I mentioned earlier about how an attack must happen while it is least expected, there are these sales only through app which hits us when we are not prepared, brings us offers and entices us to buy and spend when we were actually not prepared to spend a penny. As consumers we think we have the evil laughter, but the marketers will have a bigger laugh.(Internet.org is one such example).
Understand something very important here, War front when used as a simile can get a little crashy but let's say a game of chess, calculations are made to make moves which leads to victory and a few calculations made upfront to lose a few soldiers. In that way, value proposition and mutual value creation are also calculations which marketers make in their game of deception to entice the consumer. Now it is up to you to choose whether or not to take that bait.