Exploration of a socio-cultural anthropological approach to humanistic marketing in the French toy sector.

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Darnis, Celia
Issue Date
Dublin Business School
In today's capitalist Western society, the field of marketing has become synonymous with manipulation. Indeed, with the development of new technologies and the use of user data as new indicators, marketers now have the power to venture into our deepest desires and turn them into needs (The Social Dilemma, 2020). However, if this data is used to more easily give us what we really need, what is the problem? The problem lies in determining whether this is likely to be the case or whether it is just induced by all the stimuli around us. So, in a society with many societal and environmental issues, having such power cannot be left without theoretical reflection. Marketing professionals are therefore increasingly called upon to adopt an ethical approach, taking into account real human needs. This is where the field of anthropology, a science that studies the human being in all its aspects, comes into play. This essay aims to provide further insights into the alliance between the field of socio-cultural anthropology and marketing. To do so, the French toy sector has been defined as the context of study, as the vulnerability of the target market, children, may represent the ideal context to demonstrate the usefulness of the alliance of these two fields. The researcher then decided to conduct individual semi-structured interviews with 6 mothers aged between 25 and 45, with children aged between 2 and 12. In this way, she will be able to gather the point of view of these mothers on their child's relationship with toys in a digitalized era, and then analyze whether the market is in line with the desires and needs of the respondents, the first decision-maker in the purchase. To support this qualitative data, an online questionnaire was also distributed to the same target group. The results revealed that mothers' feelings about the technologies used by their children were mainly negative, and that permission to use them was motivated more by a need to stay out of society than a desire on the part of respondents. Thus, the researcher felt that an anthropological approach would be relevant to the design and marketing of new products in this sector, which would meet both the needs of mothers, which are those of safety, and the needs of children, which are those of psychomotor development, entertainment and education. However, for this alliance to be successful, the different philosophies of the two fields will need to be brought together so that this approach is not just another quest for profit, but a fruitful lever for goodwill and profitability.