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Thread: Consumerism Research

  1. #1
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    Consumerism Research

    I have been studying the effects of consumerism for my dissertation for a few months now and I'd love to gain some new insights from you all!
    I have specifically studied the journey of why you might want to acquire certain products, how you feel when you get them and the long-term effects of relying on material possessions for happiness/positivity.
    The next stage of my dissertation is to relay any opportunities that I found in my research and turn them into a business concept that could be launched successfully.

    My key findings/conclusions so far are;
    1 - consumers gain more pleasure out of aiming to acquire a product than actually getting it
    2 - it is now socially preferred to share possessions rather than own them
    3 - having materialistic goals may represent a feeling of lack of control in other aspects of that consumers life
    4 - there are blurred perceptions of what consumers now consider a 'luxury' compared to a 'necessity'

    I am considering creating a new website/forum in which all types of consumer can share their stories, advice and positivity to create an online community that appreciates freedom and experiences over possessions. It will also contain inspirational images, blog posts and suggestions of how you can gain more from your life with less 'stuff' - much like The Minimalists.com but more visual and interactive

    SO WHERE DO YOU COME IN?
    I'd love to know more about your lifestyle, why you aspire to purchase certain possessions, where do your values lie, and if you feel constrained by the possessions in your life.
    A few example questions that you could answer are as follows;
    Do you consider yourself a mindful consumer?
    Have you ever thought about all of the possessions in your life that hold no real value or are just a distraction from what is really important?
    Do you want to change your purchasing habits in the future? If so, why and how?
    Do you look at blogs and forums for advice around the topic of consumer or simple living? And if so, are they helpful? What are you looking to get from them?

    But if you have any other comments, experiences that you'd like to share surrounding this topic or even advice, I'd love to hear from you!

    Also, if you have a few minutes please fill out my survey about how market influences may be making you spend - https://elle10.typeform.com/to/FquPgR

  2. #2
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    I tried to look at your survey, but it doesn't work on my touch screen, and honestly I'm not sure selecting one of the responses would really give you a meaningful answer to a lot of the questions - some of your terms - such as "we" are too vague. I could choose any response based on how I chose to interpret the question.

    As for your business - is this business supposed to generate income? How? Subscriptions? Selling advertizing to others who want to advertise to people who want to avoid purchases? Advertizing for commodified experiences?

  3. #3
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    Chicken lady, when they first posted, they posted the link with the same questions in multiple sections of this forum, in rapid sucession (spam style). Now, their post pretty well describes the goal as research marketing, and reposts the link, with no other real discussion anywhere else.
    Sounds to me they are looking for how to get their hooks into a spend resistant market and would (paraphrased) we voluntary subject ourselves to consumerism, please.

  4. #4
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    Well, except for the dissertation part in this post. That made me think they were trying to take the advice to begin by explaining. - as a professional educator and the mother of two college students and one fresh graduate, I'd like to think of this as an educational opportunity - I understand the thesis, I'm just not sure this person is really focusing on a marketing career/oportunity that is going to provide a decent livelihood. It seems a lot like selling bicycles to fish.

    also, if they have an advisor, that person didn't really do a good job giving feedback on the survey, and looking at their survey conclusions, it seems to me if they have correctly identified their target group, they should be looking for a business that makes its income from the sharing economy - perhaps something like a members only lending library, or a website that allows you to connect with others to share items - in which case they would have to have a membership fee, a fee for posting of some sort, or sell advertisements for products that are proud of their durability - "this chainsaw has been in use every day for 6 months with no downtime for repair..."

    alternately I realize the poster may truly be asking "how can I sell you stuff you don't want or need?" to which I reply "sorry honey, wrong question. In so many ways."

  5. #5
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    "Commoditized experience" I had to smile at how cynical that phrase was. I love it . But really, I have no problem with commoditized experience such as exists if it uses minimal natural resources, and is how one wants to spend their money. If one spends their money on weekly massages or violin lessons so be it, it seems pretty harmless to me. But I could certainly see commoditized experience becoming grotesque in an attempt to monetize absolutely EVERYTHING.

    Where the money making opportunity is here I don't know. Sell people books on the unsatisfying nature of consumerism. Um, I think I've already read all those books, or if not all, probably enough ("affluenza", "the paradox of choice", "the poverty of affluence" etc.). Sell people therapy to deal with their consumerism?

    The website idea could be interesting though.

    Experience versus things, but an extroverted society has an extreme (hyper) definition of "experience", it's all bungee jumping, and sky diving, and trips to the Amazon jungle, it's all bucket lists. But most people don't have time or maybe even energy for that many of those types of experiences (or even those massages in many cases, as passive as that is, that could be an hour commitment in the busy schedule there). Compared to going online and having a package arrive at the doorstep (like it's a gift just for you! and never mind that you paid for the darn thing ...). The little joy from possessions takes very little time to acquire and that's a big appeal. Of course if experience is a good bowl of soup and a sandwich, or a walk around the block then ... experience might be easily had.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chicken lady View Post
    it seems to me if they have correctly identified their target group, they should be looking for a business that makes its income from the sharing economy - perhaps something like a members only lending library, or a website that allows you to connect with others to share items - in which case they would have to have a membership fee, a fee for posting of some sort, or sell advertisements for products that are proud of their durability - "this chainsaw has been in use every day for 6 months with no downtime for repair..."
    a lot of these things are often free though, so they'd have to compete with the free market (the really free, as in beer, market), have something to offer above and beyond what it could provide.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    Yes, but meeting people to date is also free, and yet, people pay for it. I think it depends on your RL community - here it is very difficult for me to meet people with some common or complimentary interests/needs/skills. I have paid fees to join clubs or classes in order to do so.

    I wasn't trying to be cynical, I though the term was accurate in this context - marketing.

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    I went ahead and answered the survey. I'm not sure that they're really scamming the list. It made me think that I don't really feel marketed to in this day and age. I remember jingles from my childhood, but beyond the ads at the beginning of movies in the theater, (which I don't go to often to begin with), I can't name any ads that I've really registered. Except for a few big things - Apple for instance - it doesn't seem like we live in a branded world in the same way anymore. I couldn't put together a list of must-haves. What cars are popular? I have no idea. At the same time, there are brands of things that I own that I like, but I'm not sure if it is because of advertising. I have an Olivetti typewriter, a Vespa scooter, Ray Ban sunglasses, Bialetti coffee maker, Rivendell bicycle. I refer to all those things by their brand name when I talk about them. "I'm going to type a letter to my sister on the Olivetti before hopping on the Vespa to drop it off at the post office. Have you seen my Ray Bans?" But I really can't see that I've been advertised to regarding those things. They're just brands I like. I don't think there really are that many culture-wide, ad-driven, consumer behaviors anymore.

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    i think advertising has gotten more targeted to smaller and smaller groups. there are websites that show me pictures of things I've looked at but didn't buy around the borders of the page, my grocery store sends me coupons and recipes every week based on the things I buy a lot - and makes sure to remind me of high profit items I bought before but not lately. - if I've had a big stock up and my shopping drops off for a few weeks I get coupons for "meat" and "produce" to make sure I come back.

    My family used to tell me I was an advertisers worst nightmare because I'd remember funny commercials but not what was being sold - "there was this commercial, I think it was for a car...or maybe phone service...anyway...."

    Interestingly dd now works for a grocery chain, and she came for dinner last night and I had cookies. She eyed them suspiciously and asked "are these [competitor] cookies?" and I said "no, they're [employer] cookies. I was picking up stuff for dinner and they were right by the door and they looked good and they had a giant markdown sticker on them, so I bought them." and dd nearly fell off her chair "Oh my god! you did exactly what you were supposed to do! I can't wait to go back to work! there's this huge arguement about putting the cookies by the door. I can't believe you bought them!"

    so while I may feel like I ran across a good deal and took advantage of it - I am definitely being marketed to. I can remember lots of jingles from childhood for items we never bought that I never wanted - so I think the advertizers are getting better - I bought the cookies and missed the advertizing. and I'm still glad I bought the cookies.

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    living under a rock is the new small housing

    Most of it is just like "I think I might be the wrong person to ask ...".

    Afterall, I haven't seen a movie in the theaters in over a decade. I see a bit of t.v. occasionally (not enough to perfectly follow a plot line) but don't own one. Most of my browsers are thoroughly ad-blocked, so no ads get through. I don't use store cards. I don't even subscribe to any magazines.

    So what's left? Billboards, a source of great annoyance. Ads that slip through when I've watched t.v. or read a magazine or on the radio before I change the station. The junk mail if I read it (of course I almost never do). The things I see when I'm shopping for other things, at the store, online, free samples - that stuff can be tempting. And it takes two to tango, as Amazon recommends books and they seem interesting, I'll look them through. I suppose if I was taking more protective measures, I'd only listen to satellite radio, never ever ever buy anything not on the list at the store, etc.. If I wanted to make sure marketing had no effect.
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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    I actually like the targeted marketing. The more targeted the better. I want to know when there is a good deal on item A at the grocery store and I will plan my menu around that instead of item B, just the way I plan seasonally around stuff in the garden. help me out - tell me how to save money on stuff I do/want/need anyway. tell me why your product is better than this other product? (and then wait while i go verify that if it's a reason that matters to me)

    I like the "you might also like" and "others who bought this" ads - sometimes they're really funny. other times I find a new author or a new product I actually like.

    I'm not a huge consumer - when dd1 was over we were talking about how her sister doesn't sort laundry, and dd said it was because none of our clothes ever bled color and I said "that's one of the reasons I like shopping at goodwill - most of it isn't going to bleed or shrink." and dd looked at her boyfriend and said "Also, Mom likes clothes with the guilt washed out. Also not a fan of packaging." But when I do want something new I appreciate help finding good quality, low prices, etc.

    for an example of good marketing of a commodified experience - i like to go to the symphony. I'm on their e-mail list. they let me know what concerts are coming up and send me offers for discount tickets. This keeps me from missing concerts I want to attend and sometimes saves me money. I would go less if they didn't do this, so they benefit. I started to say that I benefit because I don't hear about a concert afterwards and think "Oh, I wish I had known about that, I would have loved to go!" but actually I'd probably never hear about it - still I think my life is richer for the experience even if I wouldn't have missed it.

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