27 August, 2008

The problem I have with modern marketing

Perception changes reality. If marketers ~ even Christian marketers ~ can change our perception of things, then they might have us hooked. I'm not talking about true needs, here, just perceived needs. I am so sick of deceptive marketing, but really with marketing in general. I know that the workmen and women are worthy of their wages, but truly, do we need so many workmen in one area? The writers that I love to read (or have time to read) have resources through their blogs or they are simply friends with whom I converse. That is more like it was in my Mother's and Grandmothers' day. Maybe folks weren't always right, but then neither are they always right now, even if they have written books and articles! Remember, facts, theories, technology, and opinions keep changing.

I have to be careful not to throw out the good things with the hype, so I have to pray for wisdom (always). I'm also tired of the latest greatest "Prayer Bear" or "Journal" other marketing scheme. Who, pray tell, will be the best-selling Christian author next decade, 'cause (if I were a betting woman) I'd bet that it won't be the same as this decade's author. So that author better get his share while the getting is good! That is the story of marketing! I apologize if I seem a little zealous. It's not inherently evil to be a best-selling author, or have a similar "high-profile" job...talk-show host, "Life Coach," actor, singer, what-have-you.

Now I have to admit that thanks to marketing and demand, classic "Oldie-but-goodies" have come back around or always been available. Thanks to demand, homeschool materials are much more readily available, but to me there are TOO MANY out there now, competing for our God-given AND hard-earned dollar. We have to be so much more shrewd and careful, and guard our time and dollars. It is such a struggle sometimes. I choose to shut most of it out and off, because the fruit of the struggle is not good fruit.

But something to consider in a future post is the "timelessness" of a classic...be it a book, author, work of art, music, etc. Think classic and save money. LOL.

If hubby and I have a need, then we research it a bit and try to spend our time and money wisely. We have not always done so. We've made some bad or expensive choices over the years, but we try to stay the course even when we fail. We have found treasures for pennies on the dollar much more often than not.

Perception changes reality.

1) The perceived "need" for newer, bigger, faster, brighter...better?

2) The perceived illusion that what you already have is not good enough, even if it is not broken or torn.

3) The illusion...YES sometimes it is indeed an illusion...that we need to be more "up-to-date" (relevant?) to keep up and compete with others (happens in homes, homeschooling circles, and churches, yikes!). If we stay on that merry-g0-round, what we have will only be good enough for a week, a month, or a year. In fact, with more and more which we have to choose from, it seems to speed up the merry-go-round faster and faster. We may find that we are hanging on for dear life to keep up, or that we eventually get "flung off" from the centrifugal force anyway! So what have we gained? What have we harmed in the process?

On the other hand, sticking with something ONLY because "that's the way it has always been done" is not the right motivation or the best mode of operation. That is the opposite extreme. I am really talking about the need for balance, here. But even thinking that through, simplicity is not found in the middle at all! So maybe balance is not necessarily in the middle. Of greater import is the richness, depth, and weight that living a simpler life can offer.

Are we not smart enough to just keep it simple?

Meditate on that for a minute.

There are too many voices, e-mails, styles, opinions, and etcetera, to count!! My head aches over them and how much time they can steal from us. Most of these things are subjective things. WE do not really need them at all to live well and even succeed. It is up to each of us to be led toward how much we can or should handle.

What do we really need to survive? We learned it in grade school...say it with me:

~ Water
~ Food
~ Shelter (okay, I'm including clothing, here-shelters our bodies, keeps us warm)

What does our soul need to survive and thrive?

~ Jesus - aka Living Water
~ God's word - food for the soul
~ Shelter - home and (church) community

Pretty simple. Why do we complicate it, so? Why do we fall prey to the extremes that marketing has to offer?

Say "no" to the not-so-merry, merry-go-round!

I encourage us all to take a step or two toward living more simply. It will save money, draw us nearer to our God, our Saviour, our family, and friends, provide us with a little more time to enjoy the beauty God created around us, help us to afford being creative and hospitable to others, and return some peace to our lives.

With His Love and freely given,


A caveat: please understand that I am not saying that buying new, cool things is bad or sinful, in and of themselves. For example the Hubster, Dread-Pirate Sparsebeard, just snatched up a steal-of-a-deal on and end-of-summer clearance on a grill. We have never owned our own propane grill. In 23+ years of marriage, we have gone without or used a small charcoal grill.
Grilling out saves us money in the summer, because our home is all-electric.


Robin in New Jersey said...

I love this post.

When I started schooling 18 years ago, choices were limited. I am still using many of the same things I was using all those years ago. I feel bad for the new homeschoolers because they have so many choices. I have used a few different things in the mix, some I liked, some I didn't.

mamalion said...

Very well said, JavaMom. One of the things I took away from our Dave Ramsey course, when we were trying to rescue ourselves from some of our poor choices, is that he says you need the 4 walls to support the house- food, clothing, shelter, and reliable transportation, so you can get to your job, and earn more money to pay off your debt! I get sooo tired of the must-have mentality, particularly when it inundates our kids.