Frugal shoppers are usually savvy shoppers, but even we can become a victim of some well-researched marketing techniques. We find that we “need” things just to survive, but if we really examine those needs, I mean really examine them, we may find that the need is not something directly related to our survival or even happiness.
Aspirational marketing is a technique in which the goal is to sell items to people who can’t afford it. I kid you not. The marketers want people who might want to aspire to a different lifestyle but can’t afford it. It is literally convincing people to leave above their means.
Aspirational marketing occurs in all areas and types of retail, from real estate to grocery stores. Marketers are aiming to sell a lifestyle instead of a product, and this can be very effective. While it used to be that living above your means was seen as foolish and maybe even corrupt, these days it tends to be more embarrassing to admit that you can’t afford all of the things that your neighbor has.
A lot of times in frugal blogs, including this one, we talk about how you can get the things you want for less, such as shopping for designer clothes at a consignment shop. And while there is merit to being able to do this, we should also take the time to figure out if even when getting a bargain, are we victims of aspirational marketing. Do we want things because we think they will put us in a different category of living?
Families with children face an additional challenge with aspirational marketing, since it is natural for a parent to want her children to go farther in life than they did, and if they have the perfect toy, the perfect house to grow up in or the perfect clothes, they will get a better start in life.
Click here for more articles by Mary Ann Romans.
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