Are You a Victim of Marketing?

by Vincent King · 4 comments

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?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Phil Maguire | Get Rich/Save The Planet says:

    I hate to say this but I believe you have marketing mixed up with advertising. Wikipedia defines marketing as “the process of communicating value of a product or service to a customer” which I think is a bit weak because it misses out the first and most important job of marketing: to ensure that the product has value in the first place. The first target of marketing is the business itself to ensure that it is not producing crap no one wants. It is the voice of the customer inside the business. So personally, I hope that everyone is a “victim” of marketing and is more so in the coming year

    However, when you replace “marketing” with “advertising”, your comments and advice are spot on. Personally, I find the advertising is its own cure. When I see an advert, I think “Goodness, they’re spending an awful lot of money to tell me how good their product is – so what’s wrong with it? What are they trying to hide?”

  • Ruth Cooke says:

    I’ve answered this question more fully on my blog, but basically, the keys to not becoming a victim of marketing are to filter out as much advertising as possible (don’t look through the flyers, don’t watch television), and to take the time to THINK before you buy.

    Do you really need what’s being offered? Do you even really WANT it, or do you want the supposed benefits the advertising seems to offer? How can you get what you need or want at a more reasonable price? Do you already have what you need or want, without buying what’s advertised?

    In the last month, I’ve “saved” (as in not spent) literally thousands of dollars simply by taking the time to think. I’ve been tempted by several expensive on-line courses, and each time found a way to get what I need now for free.

    One day, when I can pay for those courses without going into debt, I may spend the money. But right now, I’m up to my earballs in student loans, and taking out credit card loans for even more education is sheer idiocy.

    Taking the time to think before I clicked on the shopping cart button helped me bring that into clearer focus.

  • Jonathan says:

    Truthfully I don’t think you can ever not be a victim of marketing. It’s so prevalant in society and also often very subtle. If you are in some way able to shut yourself off to the subtleties of marketing then you can bet that someone close to you will be effected and will persuade you to buy the exact thing that you didn’t need! 🙂 Happy Christmas to all at Moneyning

  • KM says:

    I don’t watch commercials (have been using virtually nothing but Netflix for years because those commercials drive me crazy), but back when I used to watch Hulu or see them on TV, they just irritated me. Maybe I am just difficult to convince, but commercials never made me want to buy anything; unless you consider movie trailers to be commercials, then I may be guilty of being swayed a few times 😉

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