Friday, February 27, 2009

The Next To Go?

Consumerism, if it doesn't define the US, certainly describes it. The marketing that it spawns drives our political campaigns and pays for most sports, newspapers, magazines, radio, television and internet sites.

Advertisements try to convince us to buy products and services that we don't need, or undo brand loyalty to increase market share.

I am fairly sure that, as disposable income dries up, the dirty secret at the heart of the marketing sector will kill or cripple it.

The secret: It probably doesn't work!

I have been reading some mathematical papers on marketing. It is well-known that new marketing campaigns lead to increased sales, but only for a while. When this data is discussed, two factors are not considered:

1. The cost of the campaign itself is not factored into the increased sales.
2. There is no attempt made to check how much of the increased business is simply consumers buying earlier than they would have otherwise.

Since the manufacturers relies on marketing firms for their research, and the latter have a vested interest in the results, it is no surprise that these slip under the radar.

In other words, the sector is a huge bubble which, unlike investment or housing, has absolutely nothing backing it up!


OldSouth said...

A most interesting insight!
Writing from the US, I can testify that we have been 'over-marketed' for many years; whether it be cars, or houses, or electronic gadgets, or pharmaceuticals to increase the size and stamina of a certain normally limp body part, or even the local church's appeal for the capital building fund. (This last item is a favorite of mine, as I've witnessed at least a score of them, each more manipulative than the last. Words fail to describe them adequately.)

The central theme is--'Spend your money on this, or on us; you will feel so much better for it, and/or you will in addition be more attractive and sexy. You will be able to achieve great things without having to work for them. Anyone who disagrees with this premise is just a grumpy old so-and-so.'

One wag pointed out that if every marketing claim about golf drivers were true, we'd all be bombing the ball 500 yards down the middle of the fairway....

I think we've all just tired of being lied to at every turn.

It may be my grumpy sense of rebellion, but my Christmas present to me was to spend $50 regripping my old Hogan Speed-Slots--Persimmon, Baby! They were made when Mr. Hogan owned the factory, and I hope he eyeballed them as they came off the line. It's great fun playing with them. The club pro hits a few with them from time to time, and hands them back with a longing in his eye, remembering when the game was more about the golfer than the gear. (He has a shop full of the latest-and-greatest to sell.)

Maybe, just maybe, as we watch so much of our stuff go away, we can find our souls again.

Hard to market that idea, though.

Sackerson said...

I think there will be a switch to cheap-and-cheerful, like the man in the Depression who adapted an industrial stamper to cut out a hundred dresses at a time, so they could be simply sewn and sold for a dollar each. KFC plan to open more outlets here, and the low-end supermarkets are gearing up to pinch business from the middle-end. Other businesses that don't advertise will go under, so they will have to keep a margin aside for promotion.

dearieme said...

Great, I'll fetch my hickory-shafted clubs down from the attic.