Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Peddling an Experience

"Marketing is the mystical science of figuring out what makes people behave the way they do so you can make them behave the way you want." Paul Richard "Dick" McCullough ("Exploiting Human Nature: How to Successfully Market High-Tech New Products")


For a while now, I thought I was already immune to marketing strategies, because I've been on that side of the fence and I've seen how it operates. But after reading some posts on how marketers exploit human nature, I began to look around my house and I was dumbstruck when I realized that all of the products on my bathroom shelf are either colored blue, white or green. 

I have problematic skin that easily breaks out in rashes and years ago, my derma prescribed medications to keep my skin at bay. Those cleansers and topical medicine came in nondescript white tubes and simple packaging, so I've always associated doctor-recommended and sensitive skin safe products with white and no-frills packaging. I also tend to gravitate towards blue and green products because of how clean and fresh they are (Aha! Another marketing construct right there!).

Earlier this year, my friend and I thought of putting up a small bakery/restaurant within my condominium compound and I was adamant that it should be "Instagram-worthy" to entice my mostly young neighbors to make it their hangout where they can do their selfies, in effect generating free advertising for our bakery.


Little did I know then that my "Instagram-worthy" bakeshop was actually what Starbucks peddled, an experience. People don't want to merely eat or drink coffee, they want to spend time with their friends, people watch, enjoy the ambiance, take a break from studying or working. And Starbucks delivers all that, that's why people line up for its overpriced coffee. Absolutely brilliant.

I asked my husband, a marketing graduate, if there was anything morally questionable about this practice, because it seemed quite deceptive on some level. But he answered that on the contrary, marketers were giving people what they really wanted: something that made them feel good about themselves.

Again, it's never about the toothpaste, the coffee or the facial wash. It's about the promise of what you can be with those products and how they make you feel.

As a personal finance geek, I think it's bullcrap, but as an avid observer of human nature and behavior, I am fascinated.

However, now that I've uncovered my own bias and triggers, I'll be more careful about what I put inside my shopping cart, as I might just be spending a bit more on something that is actually no different than the cheaper variety just because Juday (my secret BFF) endorses it.


P.S.

Fitz Villafuerte's fantastic article on Starbucks is a study of how brilliant marketers really are, and their uncanny understanding of human nature and frailty. Go read it now.

Peddling an Experience

"Marketing is the mystical science of figuring out what makes people behave the way they do so you can make them behave the way you want." Paul Richard "Dick" McCullough ("Exploiting Human Nature: How to Successfully Market High-Tech New Products")


For a while now, I thought I was already immune to marketing strategies, because I've been on that side of the fence and I've seen how it operates. But after reading some posts on how marketers exploit human nature, I began to look around my house and I was dumbstruck when I realized that all of the products on my bathroom shelf are either colored blue, white or green. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Scam?

Sometime June of this year, a friend in Kuala Lumpur went to the Regus office to inquire about their services. He recalls filling out an information form and talking with a Regus employee, but he maintains that he did not sign a contract to avail of Regus' services.

Fast-forward to August when he was emailed a bill from a collection agency from the Philippines demanding that he immediately settle his outstanding account with Regus Kuala Lumpur. He ignored the demand letter and then a few weeks later, he received another demand letter from a collection agency in Singapore!

How shady right? He INQUIRES about a company's services, then a few months later, he gets billed for services he didn't sign up for or avail of. And to make it even more interesting, his account gets passed around to different collection agencies overseas.

Regus seems like a legit company with a worldwide presence, so I'm surprised that this is happening to my friend. Maybe there was a mix-up of some kind and the information form he signed was treated as a contract of lease? Or maybe the information form WAS a contract of lease? Either way, I'll be very wary from now on about signing slips of paper when inquiring about services. For all I know, I might get billed for a house and lot after I merely asked about it at an open house. Brrr....


A Scam?

Sometime June of this year, a friend in Kuala Lumpur went to the Regus office to inquire about their services. He recalls filling out an information form and talking with a Regus employee, but he maintains that he did not sign a contract to avail of Regus' services.

Fast-forward to August when he was emailed a bill from a collection agency from the Philippines demanding that he immediately settle his outstanding account with Regus Kuala Lumpur. He ignored the demand letter and then a few weeks later, he received another demand letter from a collection agency in Singapore!

How shady right? He INQUIRES about a company's services, then a few months later, he gets billed for services he didn't sign up for or avail of. And to make it even more interesting, his account gets passed around to different collection agencies overseas.

Regus seems like a legit company with a worldwide presence, so I'm surprised that this is happening to my friend. Maybe there was a mix-up of some kind and the information form he signed was treated as a contract of lease? Or maybe the information form WAS a contract of lease? Either way, I'll be very wary from now on about signing slips of paper when inquiring about services. For all I know, I might get billed for a house and lot after I merely asked about it at an open house. Brrr....


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Staying Still

I have a problem about being in the present. Even now while typing this, I have five other tabs open and my mind is jumping to the letter I have to draft within the day, while thinking about what else I have to accomplish for the day.


When I'm with my son, I browse Instagram and Facebook on my phone while he's watching TV. I tell myself that it's ok because when he turns to me, I put my phone down and turn my attention to him. Obviously it's not, and even he knows it, as he swats away my phone or grabs it and runs off with it, probably seeing it as the enemy to my attention.


It's the same with our finances. I get so overwhelmed about what I need to accomplish and the fact that I'm doing it all alone, that I try to shove it to one side and do bits and pieces blindly, without a general plan to guide me. Case in point was how long it took me to calculate my net worth and create a zero sum budget.


If I were to rank our financial to-dos, it would be as follows:


Staying Still

I have a problem about being in the present. Even now while typing this, I have five other tabs open and my mind is jumping to the letter I have to draft within the day, while thinking about what else I have to accomplish for the day.

When I'm with my son, I browse Instagram and Facebook on my phone while he's watching TV. I tell myself that it's ok because when he turns to me, I put my phone down and turn my attention to him. Obviously it's not, and even he knows it, as he swats away my phone or grabs it and runs off with it, probably seeing it as the enemy to my attention.

It's the same with our finances. I get so overwhelmed about what I need to accomplish and the fact that I'm doing it all alone, that I try to shove it to one side and do bits and pieces blindly, without a general plan to guide me. Case in point was how long it took me to calculate my net worth and create a zero sum budget.

If I were to rank our financial to-dos, it would be as follows:

Monday, November 10, 2014

California Dreaming


My brother is a pilot so I can get a substantial discount on airfares if I wanted to. And lately, I've been dreaming of spending a week in San Francisco, with a side trip to Napa Valley.

I have relatives there so lodging is not an issue, and between my family connections and heavily discounted ticket, I'll be spending far less than a regularly priced round trip ticket for everything.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Money Coach

It's funny how things have a way of unfolding. I started this blog to chronicle my musings about personal finance, to create a soundingboard of how much I still need to learn about getting my financial house in order. And in the process of writing about how much I don't know about personal finance, I'm suddenly fielding questions about investments, savings and whatnot. Essentially getting questions because people think I know something.


Strange.


Money Coach

It's funny how things have a way of unfolding. I started this blog to chronicle my musings about personal finance, to create a soundingboard of how much I still need to learn about getting my financial house in order. And in the process of writing about how much I don't know about personal finance, I'm suddenly fielding questions about investments, savings and whatnot. Essentially getting questions because people think I know something.

Strange.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

An Unlikely Role Model

Remember Anne Curtis' TV commercials for PS Bank? Apparently, Ms. Curtis was not just doing it because she got paid to be cute about saving money, she really does believe in saving money!



An Unlikely Role Model

Remember Anne Curtis' TV commercials for PS Bank? Apparently, Ms. Curtis was not just doing it because she got paid to be cute about saving money, she really does believe in saving money!