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Be mindful of marketing

October 3, 2012

Ever find yourself admiring the outfit of a mannequin? Or standing next to a table looking through clothes on display? How about walking out of a department store carrying a newly bought something you never intended to buy? Chances are – marketing influenced your behavior.

Each year, companies spend billions of dollars on marketing. Why? To get you to buy their products. In fact, researchers have extensively studied our buying habits. For example, they have determined where to place displays and certain products, what language to use in posters, and what phrases the sales associates should say. Think about it. Ever wonder why you must dodge tables filled with ties or sales people seeking to assist you? While trying to get to that pair of shoes at the back wall? Marketing.

When shopping or looking at advertisements, I offer a bit of advice:

1. Be conscious of marketing. Don’t take for granted people are trying to direct your actions and buying habits. Look for it. Use it to your advantage. In other words, avoid getting lost in the maze of deals and slick products on your way to the door buster in the very back corner of the store. Tell yourself, “I am here for the door buster, not the hundred other things in between it and the door.”

2. A good deal at the wrong time is the wrong deal. Let’s say you have more than enough quality ties and a constricted budget. Yet, you need to upgrade your shirts. So, you head to the local department store. On your way to the shirts, you pass several displays with $100 beautiful ties all discounted 60%. Then you see the sign saying, “Buy three discounted ties, get two free.” So, you would get five ties for 76% off! But wait. Added to your purchase – $120 you never intended to spend. If you don’t need ties, save the money for shirts. Stay focused on the deal you presently require – one for shirts!

3. Just because it sounds better does not mean it is better. Clever writers have taken even the most mundane items and glorified them with glowing language. Ask yourself, “Do I really need ‘handmade artisan socks’ made of Brazilian unicorn wool?” When you hold them next to the cotton pair, can you discern any noticeable difference? If not, consider whether you really need to pay the premium price.

4. Don’t get distracted. See the examples from numbers 1 and 2 and stay focused with a plan. (For more on strategic shopping, read my article titled Quality Clothing + Bargain = Smart Shopping)

5. Don’t buy based on emotion. This goes well beyond clothes. If you do not need to upgrade your television from fifty to eighty inches, don’t upgrade – even if the sale feels very enticing – even if the playoffs start in a couple weeks. Be strong.

With this article, I hope your eyes open to the strategies directed at you. Think of the process as a football game with your cash as the football. Would you greet a well prepared opposing team without a game plan, practice, and a strategy? Of course not.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2012 3:25 am

    No, I don’t need those unicorn wool socks, but I wouldn’t mind a purse made out of Jabberwocky. 🙂 Nice post — it’s a good reminder of how to shop sensibly. 🙂

  2. October 3, 2012 9:36 pm

    Great article. I like to shop for clothing with a list. Seriously. I plan on buying specific pieces and won’t deviate from my plan. It helps that I have a limited palette of colors and patterns that I like, so it’s easy to stay on track.

  3. November 8, 2012 6:30 pm

    Lol, really good advice, especially dealing with sales, midnight sales, and other sales … and soon Christmas sale! Yikes!! Haha … Thanks 🙂

  4. November 24, 2012 6:30 am

    Jeremy, excellent advice here. I often use the excuse of “it’s such a great deal I couldn’t pass it up.” And then later, I realize I didn’t really need or want the item. Thanks for the insights and thanks for stopping by Travel Oops! Steph

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