Sunday, February 19, 2017

Marketing Ploys

A reminder.

As a woman, much of the world's marketing is geared toward convincing me that I'm not beautiful enough, that I'm not sexy enough, that I'm not thin enough.  Quite frankly.... I am not enough (without their product).

This frustrates me.

I AM ENOUGH, with or without their product, because the truth is, their product is nothing without me buying it.  If I don't consider your product worth my hard earned dollars, then it's really not enough, is it?  So it's up to the advertisers to convince me that their product IS worth my hard earned dollars.  Except, they don't really do that, do they?  Instead, they engage in marketing ploys.

I recently ran across yet another marketing ploy that made me sigh and turn off the computer.  She was peddling her version of weight loss.  I think losing weight is important, especially when you're as overweight as I am.  I WANT to lose weight.  Not because I am not enough, but because I want MORE.  More hiking, more biking, more feeling energetic...  yes, I want more.  However, when I see someone swearing that something is free, all you pay is shipping to see if you like a product (okay, I get try before you buy - we've all been burnt before) and then attaching all this GARBAGE to it (one time offer of training coach for $19.99 a month...  one time offer of a bunch of pills that will skyrocket you to success...  you know the drill) or SHAMING people for sticking to the original deal (Statements like "No thanks, I'd rather stay fat and miserable for the rest of my life...") is such a turn off for me.  

I have sat in a room where we were supposed to be learning how to present ourselves.  I was there because I wanted to be more confident when I met people at writing conferences, and not be scared to death of the idea of pitching an idea to an agent or editor.  Instead, I found myself smack dab in the underworld of marketing.  People being taught how to manipulate unsuspecting souls into buying their crap.  "All you have to do is plug your product into this formula, and it really works!"  They weren't kidding - I was watching it happen right before my eyes!  When someone pointed out this was manipulation...  oh boy.  That was shot down!  Why?  Because who wants to hear the truth?

Here's a tip:  Marketing manipulators know that people really won't buy stuff if there's time to think about it.  So they create a need for their product, raise the price, slash it, and then "create a shortage."  In other words, "This will only be available twice a year!" or "You will never see it at this price again!"  Tack on a whole bunch of testimonials to prove how much better your life will be with their product in your life...  ugh.  

The shaming thing is just disgusting.   If someone is having to shame you into buying something, clearly their product isn't worth it.

Manipulation, in any form, in unacceptable in my book. Persuasion is a horse of an entirely different color.  Persuasion has another person's interests at heart.  Manipulation is selfishness.  A good explanation of this in the political viewpoint can be found here.  I think it's good to understand that mass media doesn't just apply to politics, but has also played a huge factor in our culture as well, and therefore, how you are manipulated into buying crap that for the most part, you don't want or need.

Beware of marketing ploys.  Bring Heavenly Father into you purchasing plans.  Hold onto every dollar and ask yourself, do I really need or want this?  Take time to think about it, pray about it, wait for it.  Trust me, greedy people will wait awhile and then try their marketing ploy again to see if they can dupe more people into buying their junk.  If that product really is worth it's weight in gold, you'll get the chance to buy it again.  

Remember all those beautiful photos of homes on pinterest?  Why are they so beautiful?  Because they aren't full of clutter.  If you want a beautiful home, stop spending and give some time to purge.  Then buy with a specific plan in place.

 Want a beautiful body?  Stop spending money on gizmos, shakes, etc.  Look at who you are and what level of fitness you want to be at.  Work toward those goals in slow and steady increments.  It is not out of reach, and there is no such thing as a shortcut.  Do you need that membership at the gym you're not using?  Do you really need portion sized cups or do you maybe need to go to a food addiction recovery?  Sorry, but if you're addicted to food, I don't care how bright those containers are - they won't work.

Side note here, I DO have a gym membership so that during the winter months full of snow and ice I have a place to go to walk.  I used to own my own equipment, but since my autistic son was born, it's not safe to have that stuff in my home.  So I go to a gym, but that's my choice.  My accountability is getting my money's worth out of the membership.  If you're not going to go, then don't buy one.  I chose a local gym that I pay $10 for myself and $10 for my husband a month...  and we don't have a contract.  I might consider one of those national chains if I traveled all the time, but since I don't and most hotels have a gym in them these days, that kind of membership (at $40/mo per person!) isn't smart purchasing.  Maybe you're one of those that loves going to the classes?  Then do it!  The key is not to buy things you aren't using or eliminate impulse buying.

It's the same principle for every other kind of product out there.  Pray, research, know what you're willing to do, THEN purchase.  Once you've made the choice, be accountable and act on it.  As your bank account fattens and your confidence rises, you'll be happy you did.  :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The view on the horizon.

Vashon Island, WA 

© Aine Maura, 2016

On Vashon Island there is a pier that is not well used.  There are warning signs plastered everywhere for non-use other than walking, but the pigeons have used it as an outhouse for so long, no one would ever sit on the built in benches.

But the view is spectacular.

I feel people seem like that sometimes.  They're a bit crusty on the outside.  They're cynical, they're angry, and they're irritable.  Things just aren't going their way.  Some are used as a waste disposal.  They feel stuck in place.

But a human being's potential?  To me, that is the horizon.  Contrary to how we live our lives. we aren't a pier built to just stare at beautiful vistas day after day.   I think we're constantly moving toward our potential, whether we ever reach it or not.  I think a person's worth is infinite...  timeless.

If you're that crusty soul, take heart.  You don't have to stay that way.  There are those who are insecure and will try to keep you where you are.  Don't listen to them.  Instead, set your sights on that horizon, and start rowing.
“Don't you quit. You keep walking, you keep trying, there is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon. Some come late. Some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be alright in the end. Trust God and believe in Good Things to Come.” ~ Jeffery R. Holland

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Bee on a White Rose

© Aine Maura, 2016

 I took this photo at the LDS Oakland Temple in California when my husband took myself and our 3 year old son there to celebrate our birthday (he was born on my 42nd birthday).  I love bees.  When I was young, not so much.  Their stingers hurt, and left me with welts on my skin.

Funny how growing older can change your opinion of things.  When I had a nervous breakdown a few years ago, it was the bee that inspired me out of my depression.  Industry, thrift, harmonious activity within the home (hive)...  these values helped me realize I still had worth after the trauma of a breakdown.

I think about how bees seek the beauty out.  They collect the nectar from gardens of beautiful buds, from trees, to plants, to flowers.  Then they return home to make something delicious and sweet out of the nectar they have collected.  Not only that, but their work to create actually benefits a ripple effect of many - the plant life is pollinated, the farmer receives crops, the birds, bugs and critters enjoy a summer's worth of food.  The air is perfumed, the eye is pleased, the belly is nourished.  How beautiful is that?

It makes me wonder:  Out of all the beauty I have seen, what can I create that is sweet?  What experiences and substance am I collecting to use to create with?  How can I, like the bee, bless while being blessed?

That is what I think of when photographing a bee on a white rose.