By FRANCINE HARDAWAY
The suicide rate in the United States has risen to the 10th leading cause of death, and it is still climbing. In North Dakota, it has gone up something like 57% in the past decade. You might be expected to ask me, what does this have to do with marketing? Unfortunately everything, because theorists think suicide is a disease of civilization, of people whose other needs on Maslow’s hierarchy have already been met. In earlier times, people struggled to stay alive. Hunters and herdsmen didn’t commit suicide. Doctors and engineers do.
Often when someone does commit suicide, those closest to them say “we had no idea he/she was depressed.” Not to claim any special expertise in this realm, I’d venture a guess that the reason for most suicides resides in a lack of human connection, a feeling of isolation
Here’s where marketing may have a responsibility. Not only does marketing often present images of a glorified, unattainable life, especially through advertising and social media, but through the last decade of big data and the approach of AI robots, it has succeeded in atomizing people further and further into individual data points rather than connecting them into communities.