Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Why Do We Buy Things?

With most of our basic needs fulfilled in the developed world, what do we "need"? What benefit will the iPod or the high tech cookware or the light weight sporting equipment bring us? More importantly, how do companies convince us that we need to purchase their product or service?

Commercials and advertisements of all shapes and forms are selling us something. Whether or not I think a commercial is amusing or disturbing or from a for profit or non-profit entity; they are all selling something. It may be a car, a line of cosmetics, or a charity.

How do they work?

From sundry marketing texts I learned that the consumer products and services directed to the middle and upper class fulfill a want that overlays an underlying need. As Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs; with a base of food, shelter, and a nurturing relationship is for the most part fulfilled in these demographic groups, what "needs" are addressed. The psychological needs.

This {product} will make you attractive.

This {service} will save you time.

This {item} will make you rich.

You get the point.

Why is this important to sustainability? In a culture dominated by consumer marketing driving consumer spending, it is imperative that companies selling green, clean, organic, alternative, or sustainable products or services to use whatever marketing and advertising tools they can find.

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