There are many ways advertisers can take advantage of flaws in reasoning that may result in more spending, which is why students have to be smart about what they’re buying, even when advertisements make a product seem like a desirable purchase.
“You have to realize that when a personal sales person talks to you or an ad talks to you, they are doing it as a business proposition and trying to get your business,” said marketing professor Avery Abernethy.
Abernethy said it is important to stay in control of your budget and your purchases if you don’t want marketers to take advantage of you as a consumer. He said though marketers use marketing ploys like hiring spokespeople for a product who are attractive to their target market, making packaged goods that are designed to appeal to customers and many others, it is important to keep your autonomy when it comes to making purchases.
“All of this is within a person’s conscious control,” Abernethy said. “They make the decision whether to buy or not. No marketer can force people to buy things. You just have to use your judgment.”
Though sometimes it is easy to keep control over your purchases, there are still traps that students can fall into if they’re not paying enough attention.
“You’re out, and you see stuff, and you want it,” said Nathan McAlister, senior in pre-pharmacy. “You might not have the money to do it, but you still do it because it’s right in your face, and you want it.”
It’s also easier to spend a lot when you’re not handling paper money. Downloading products online or using a credit card are easy ways to break your budget.
“You swipe the card,” said Jacob Besigel, junior in aerospace engineering. “You don’t see the money being transferred. You don’t feel like you’re losing money. Sometimes, I’ll just run out and spend a hundred dollars and go ‘where did that money go?’”
According to Frederick Cottle, professor in consumer affairs, there is a new application will make it even easier to spend money. The application will allow the phone to act as a kind of scanner, letting you scan products for online information from your phone. It is even being used in Europe as a way to pay for drinks at vending machines.
With new technologies, marketers are able to take advantage of these weaknesses even more, as they become better at targeting specific demographics with advertisements they know will appeal each particular consumer base. Marketers are even targeting individuals.
“When you pull up Facebook, what one person sees on their Facebook is completely different, as far as advertisements, than what someone else’s is because their profiles are different,” Cottle said.
It is important to always think about each product that you buy, and to make sure that it’s something that you need and will benefit you in the long run. It’s important to be able to sift through all of the misleading advertising to find what is best for you.
“If there’s a question in your mind, if there’s anything that throws up a red flag like, ‘everybody else is doing it, but I feel this way,’ you shouldn’t buy the product,” Cottle said. “If there’s a but, you need to question the real intentions of the advertising.”