Thursday, May 25, 2023

Thrifty Thursday #7 ~ Marketing

    In my last blog post, I shared with you my trip to the antiques fair in Round Top.  Miles and miles of tents set up with vintage items and antiques was a feast for the eyes.  As we walked around and really looked closely at the items, however, I couldn't help but think that most of the stuff was what I would typically see at any thrift or antique store or find on Craigslist.  Granted, there were some unique items, and the sheer volume of things to look through made it a treasure hunt, but the key difference really came down to one thing: marketing.  That is what I want to talk to you about today.  My tip is:

Be aware of marketing tactics that may make a product look more desirable than it actually is.

    What I mean by this is to pay attention to the way things are packaged, displayed, and advertised.  Companies spend billions on researching what appeals to customers and what makes their product stand out on a shelf.  Marketing is an entire job field!  Knowing this, we need to look at products objectively for what they actually are.

    When you are shopping and are drawn to something, ask yourself what you like about it.  Is it the label or the way the item is packaged?  Is it because of the way the item is displayed in relation to the other items around it?  Is it simply the store's atmosphere or aesthetic that makes you want to purchase something?  I learned years ago that an item on a shelf in a store display is not going to look the same way when I get it home and put it among my own things!  Sometimes we just have to admire the beauty when we see it and move on.  I had to do this a lot at Round Top.  There is no way I would ever pay money for some old paintbrushes with dried paint on them, but somehow one seller made them look pretty by piling them on an antique plate, setting a glass cloche on top, and putting the display on a stack of vintage books.  It was all in the presentation- the marketing!

    When you see an item you like, "undress" it to see what it truly is.   Ask yourself if it would still stand out to you if it was unwrapped and sitting randomly on a thrift store shelf among a bunch of junk.  Sometimes the answer is "yes" and you found a treasure!  Other times, without the artful display, the item will have lost its luster and appeal (like old paintbrushes that nobody washed after using.)

    Now, the flipside to this is that we can use these marketing tactics to our own advantage.  My mom goes to Round Top every year but she never buys anything- she goes just for the ideas!  We can do the same thing when we shop, gaining ideas for the things we already have.  See how stores display their wares and try to figure out what makes things appealing to you so that you can recreate it with what you have at home for the same effect. Perhaps you can gain insight into what colors or textures work well together, whether it be for an outfit or home d├ęcor.  Maybe something you use every day, like soap or detergent or even food products, can get an upgrade in your home just by decanting them into different containers, such as a glass jar with a printable label and ribbon affixed.  

    Don't fall victim to the marketing strategies.  Instead, use them for frugal inspiration.  Once you see past the traps these companies set for you, you'll be able to turn the tables without spending a dime!