Did you see that new Foot Locker commercial? The timing was perfect, and watching Tyson hand Holyfield his ear was hilarious. So when I went to the mall and saw signs for the “Week of Greatness” sale, the commercial came to my mind — and I almost bought in.
The commercial did its job. Fortunately, I stopped before laying down the credit card.
The point of good marketing is to leave you with nothing.
OK, maybe that’s a cynical way of looking at it — but the fact is that millions of dollars are spent on marketing, so you can spend without thought on goods. This isn’t news: you know it. Still, you let them win your money.
Here’s how to avoid becoming a victim of marketing:
Think: Good marketing makes you feel good just by looking at it. So what happens when you buy the product? All your problems will disappear. Life will be perfect, just as you imagine. Well, at least that’s what they want you to believe. But remember to not buy into their strategies, because it’s likely not going to change much for you.
Analyze: Do you have similar items you’ve bought before? Did you use them? Yes, the course promised to change your business, but if you don’t finish it, how can you change anything? If you already have similar products, don’t lay down another dime for the same thing.
Breathe: Take a moment to breathe when you see a sexy ad that makes you think, “Yeah, I need this!” What is this commercial making you feel? More adequate? More attractive? Breathe and tell yourself that you already are these things. Their products won’t change you on the inside, where it matters most. You must do that yourself. Develop a mantra reinforcing these ideas.
Wait: Before you make a purchase, complete a waiting period to see if you’re still crazy about the product. If you are, then go for it — as long as you can afford it without running up your debt. The waiting period should at least be a week, though a month is best.
Budget: Allow yourself a spending budget, then stick to it. If the item you want fits into your budget, then YAY! If not, sorry. You have to do without until you can pay for it. Try the method that many people use to stay on budget: cash only. If you have the green for it, you’re good. If you don’t, set it aside until you do.
Be satisfied: Stop trying to keep up with the Jones’. You’re you, and you’re magnificent. They’re not better than you; don’t let them make you feel that way because of their possessions.
Measure: If you’re measuring your happiness by the amount of money or stuff you have, you’re measuring wrong. This mentality will keep you unsatisfied, and therefore, falling prey to the marketing industry. You want to hold on to your money, so measure your happiness by the beautiful things you already have in your life.
Establish: Establish your own identity. Psychology says we use consumption and purchases to identify who we are. You happily added Abercrombie & Fitch to your stream of likes, because buying from them is sexy. It’s posh to wear their clothes, and you want people (even those who can’t see your clothes) to know you have taste and style. Don’t base your identity on the things you buy. You can be great without the A&F price tag.
Decide: Decide on your own success. Decide that your goal to be debt-free is more important than anything else. Decide that you’re going to win at your own marketing game: Buy What YOU Need, Not What They Want You To Need. Your mindset is the cornerstone of your success.
Marketing’s job is to make you feel sexy and alluring through products. If you’re already solid in your own skin and mind, however, they can’t win. And you’ll keep more money in your pockets.
What’s your favorite way to avoid becoming a victim of marketing?