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We live in a world of comparisons. Each of us is compared to someone else when it comes to our intellect, physical appearance, profession, lifestyle, hobbies, likes and dislikes, religion (or lack thereof), political stance, and the material goods we possess. I guess that's called selection. Yet, our culture has taken it to new levels. Marketing thrives on making us feel insecure, imperfect, and never good enough until we buy the product or service they're peddling. 

I teach marketing (as well as a number of other business subjects - including; ethics and leadership) and start each semester by explaining the rudiments of marketing as I see it: "Getting people to buy what they really don't need, with money they really don't have." Explaining that, to me, sets the course on a realistic path. Knowing that, may help students see things from a broader perspective and, hopefully, add some insights into why this system persists and how to make a difference within it or change it.

Yes...there are some excellent companies that don't exploit the vision of sucking every dime out of consumers pockets, making them feel like a "lesser person" and actually providing the populace with things they really need at a fair price, without taking advantage of their own workers in the process. The trick is to get more of them into our society.

But, of course, there's that thing about imperfection that most companies use to haunt us. You're not attractive enough unless you buy this car, those pants, that electronic device, these makeup products, hair coloring items, teeth whiteners, or that dress. How could you possibly land the woman or man of your dreams with a body like that? Eat this food, drink this drink, take this pill, join this gym, buy this equipment, and you'll find the love of your life in no time flat!

Let's be honest folks...making people feel like they're insecure and imperfect is what, quite often, makes consumers buy the things they really don't need.

Once you realize that you're actually perfect in your "imperfection," you become teflonesque  (not letting marketing and advertising stick to your thought processes). Yes...I know - you must be wondering how I can say these things when I teach it and owned a marketing, advertising, public relations, and management company for almost 15 years. Well, I can, because I know it for a fact. That's what it's all about.

So recognize that in your imperfection, you're perfect...period. Yea...you may wanna slim down (you can always do that by doing pushaways and exercising at home on a regular basis), or buy something that makes you feel good (a book, some music, some new clothes, fine wine, and/or healthy food), but do it through getting other people's thoughts on the items (ok, maybe some occasional advertisements may pique your interest, be informational and useful too).

Once you accept yourself for who you are...marketing, as we know it, becomes the reality that you're being led, used, and manipulated. And - when you know that in your heart, it's very tough for anyone to sell you what you don't need, with money you don't have.

So...think about it. Try being a "non-stick" human. It really can give you a feeling of freedom and a new degree of contentment.
Sory
3/7/2012 05:22:55 am

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
― Marilyn Monroe

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Dan
3/7/2012 01:10:35 pm

Sory...great quote - I love it! Marilyn Monroe was a very bright woman.

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Lauren Wallace
3/7/2012 09:26:21 am

Dan, I really enjoyed this! I've heard what you tell your students about how marketers take aim at selling to consumers, preying upon insecurities and convincing them that a certain product or look will make them happier and more fulfilled. Kind of reminds me of what my mother and I have talked about the shift from the esoteric to the materialistic mindset and how its hard not to get caught up in it all being products of our society and time. Thanks for the reminder of what is and certainly is not important in our lives.

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Dan
3/7/2012 01:18:48 pm

Thanks so much for your kind words and comments! Yes...marketers have it down to a science. And, they begin their "work on the consumers minds" when their potential customers are very young children. Sometimes companies that sell products for children will employ child psychologists to help devise advertising campaigns and even hone in on getting the children to nag their parents for products. It's tough to get the population to mentally combat strategies like that. But...it can be done.

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