Thursday, December 18, 2008

Promises of a Jane Fonda body on a common man’s budget? Oh those sneaky...

We are less than two weeks shy of the New Year. Most people, with a reasonable emotional quotient, take out some time from their lives to reflect upon the past year. I call this period the “epiphany phase”. What went wrong or what worked for them? Are there ways they could alleviate the stress in their forthcoming year? Etc. etc. etc. This bedlam stage for a common man is a marketer’s dream come true moment.

The other day, a good friend of mine and I were chatting about our respective holiday plans when she casually enquired if I had worked on any New Year resolutions. I was like “What? Are you kidding me?” An obsessive-compulsive planner like me thrives on the opportunity to make a commitment for 365 days. Every 31st December, by midnight, I make a promise to myself, which I never reveal to anyone until the goal is achieved. Even then, a chosen few hear about my infamous New Year resolutions and their success and failure rate. As the year progresses, I diligently mentally check off “All achieved” and highlight “Here’s what’s pending,” and mourn over “Damn it! Need to carry it over to next year,” list. Of course, for the triumphant execution of my goals, I seek certain worldly assistance in terms of goods and services. For instance, if one of my goals was to work on my writing skills, the service I would seek would be a writing class or a workshop.

Up until last morning, I thought I was all alone in my fanaticism until I got a note from a friend. He has made a list of 101 things that he wants to achieve in 1001 days. The list involves a variety of to-do-list—right from exploring out vegetarianism for a defined period of time to trying out Indian cuisine to participating in a race to properly managing his money. I was intrigued. A lot of his resolutions resonated with mine (I am still not telling what my goals are for the New Year), and we have never talked about what each of us wants to achieve in 2009. Hmmm. This can’t be just a coincidence.

I personally believe that we humans share a common platform for core issues. Be it money, health, career, personal life etc., the foundation of existence is defined by a few items. Sure, it might take different shapes depending on individual needs and wants. For example, this is the time of the year when people lose amour-propre. Thanks to all the holiday parties and living-in-the-moment spirit, some gain obvious amounts of weight which triggers the feeling of guilt about abusing their system with unwarranted amounts of solids and liquid, so they make goals to improve/enhance something about their lives. Voila! This is where the successful marketer creeps in like Santa Claus and helps bridge the gap between the human desire/guilt/goal/New Year resolution—(give it whatever name you like) and the product/service that would ensure the execution of the wish. For instance, most health clubs in New York City have phenomenal sales in the month of January. Before you know it, people get suckered into the deal with dreamy eyes and a culpable conscience.

Another example: A lot of people I know have career-oriented goals for the New Year. So, do you remember seeing the “Oh so alluring” deals on laptops at the beginning of every year? Who do you think they cater to? How about the $0 down payment on a new home theatre system?

We humans are predictable to quite some extent and companies are getting better at targeted marketing. I have been receiving invites to free One-day writing workshops in the month of January. Gee, I wonder how that happened.

The marketers know enough people have some form of self enhancement as a goal and so prey onto the nucleus of human weaknesses. They know most would probably fall right into their trap as what the marketers are doing, is providing that connective tissue between the “desiree” and the “desired”. Maybe marketers do get a carte blanche around this time of the year. I wish I could say, “Watch out,” but I am one of those professionals myself trying to make a living in this tough world. C'est la vie

More until next time.

Copyright © 12.18.2008

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone elses opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” – Oscar wilde

1 comment:

Spontaneous Mini said...

I love the Wilde quote.

Season's Greetings!