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JLeslie's avatar

Be honest, how much does marketing and advertising affect your purchasing behavior?

Asked by JLeslie (59781points) September 21st, 2014

Not only marketing and advertising, but also what people buy in your immediate group or more generally in your local area?

Cars are a good example I think. Go to Vermont and you will see a lot of Subarus. I’m not sure why they are so popular there, but they caught on. Cadillacs in the US tend to be purchased by black people and older people of all ethnic backgrounds. Sometimes it is just availability. If there is a Corvette dealer in town and not a Porsche dealer, you are more likely to buy the Vette I guess.

Way back in the day Pepsi specifcally went after the African American consumer, they had one of the first black sales teams. Still today I think some of that brand identity lingers, although among the soft drink brands I would say race and ethnicity are not a significant part of brand loyalty anymore.

Marlboro cigarettes targeted women many many years ago, and then they switched their concept from Mild as Mary to the Marlboro Man.

What about computer brands and other electronics? Appliances?

Clothing? Food? Hotels? Cruiseline?

What really sways you if you really think about it? If advertising and group behavior does have an influence on your purchases, do you hate to admit it?

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37 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

Probably more than I think, less than they think. For higher ticket items like appliances and cars and electronics, I will be inclined to notice a product for which I have seen attractive advertising, but I will check Consumer Reports and other reviews, and talk to people whose opinions I respect before plunking down my cash. For smaller things, food, household products (cleaners and such) not at all. I am cheap, (well,“fiscally prudent” sounds a little nicer) so I read the labels and tend to buy generic.
I do enjoy well-crafted advertising, however, I find a lot of it to be very creative and interesting. Extra points for making me laugh out loud.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Not at all.

I make my purchases based on the merits of the product or service.

canidmajor's avatar

But I have already admitted to owning Apple products, so I guess my above post is moot… ;-)

ragingloli's avatar

Not at all.
That is why I do not own any apple products.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Probably not that much. My style could be described as a “free T-shirt kind of guy” I don’t give a shit about how I Iook to others so I’m hard to market to. I don’t really have much brand loyalty. I like things that are good quality and will last. I will pay a little more for that but almost never too much for top of the line. I need to see proof thats the case though. An ad or marketing will not generally do that. I guess if they marketed their stuff from that approach It can get on my radar.

Pachy's avatar

Less than it used to but still more than I’d like. I should know better by now. I spent my career in advertising and marketing!

gorillapaws's avatar

If it didn’t work, marketing wouldn’t be as huge of an industry as it is. We are influenced by so many subtle factors.

I do tend to do my homework before making a significant purchase. Even that process is heavily influenced by marketers. There’s something called the buying funnel, where people begin searches on a general product type, learn more and refine their searches to a more specific model, read reviews, and ultimately compare prices at competing vendors. Marketers are inserting themselves into this process at every link in the chain through paid search marketing, and display ads based on your searches.

canidmajor's avatar

Well, @Pachy, then you get it exactly. If we see it, it affects us. I don’t actually know anyone who buys based solely on the advertised message, but the idea of marketing is to influence us into considering their product when we make our choices. If I am deciding between two products of equal merit, I am more likely to to choose the item that I “feel” good about. That feeling may well be because an ad made me laugh, or was prettier, or used a dog. I think it’s a bit naive for someone to think that they are “not at all affected”, unless, of course, they never are exposed to advertising.

Pachy's avatar

Absolutely right, @canidmajor. In a marketplace glutted with choices, branding and advertising are critical factors in making us choose what we choose, whether we like it (or like to admit it) or not.

hominid's avatar

@JLeslie: “Be honest, how much does marketing and advertising affect your purchasing behavior?”

I don’t think this is a matter of being “honest”. We simply have no way to know. Marketing works because the people who receive the message are often unaware that they have received it.

zenvelo's avatar

A personal experience on whether marketing and advertising affects my decision:

About ten years ago my washer went kaput, and the dryer was on its last legs. So I went to different appliance stores, checked out their deals, figured out what I liked, checked it out on Consumer Reports. A major factor was longevity, I wanted a brand that had proven its worth through demonstrated long life products.

So despite good marks on Consumer Reports, I ignored LG brand, because I had never heard of it. Huge mistake: they would have been a lot cheaper, lasted well, no problems. Instead I bought a Maytag that turned out to have significant problems with its gaskets.

My lesson: ignore the branding, consider the value.

ibstubro's avatar

Very little.
I do not have a TV channel, do not subscribe to a newspaper or magazine, and I only listen to non-commercial radio.
Price is my motivator because nearly everything I buy is second hand. I bought one of those $$$ counter-top convection ovens at our auction for $5. I printed out instructions and decided it wasn’t for me. Sold it at a later auction for $20.

I wear name brand clothes – Diesel, Lucky, Polo, etc. – yet I rarely pay more than $4 for a pair of jeans.

jca's avatar

For me, depending on what it is that I am buying, I may check Consumer Reports, I may check Amazon reviews or other review sites, I may ask people, I may wait for a sale, or I may observe others who own the same thing and wait to see if it’s something I’d like (for example, the Keurig).

I will also research price and check Costco, if they have it. Amazon, or get a coupon for a store. Kohls and crafts stores have coupons often, but you have to check the sale price. 40% off and an additional 20% coupon may or may not make a difference than 50% off with no coupon.

I’ll go into stores and browse the clearance racks, too, or clearance sections, to see what’s available.

Many things I buy, I don’t go by brand. I go by quality. For example, I can get nice cotton shirts that are not brand name, and the price will be right. I’ll browse warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club, or Van Heusen outlet if I’m traveling. Sneakers I don’t care about Nike or whatever, usually. I won’t pay $80 for a pair of sneakers.

For food, I may or may not be brand-loyal, depending on what it is and the prices.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jca Coupons ARE marketing.

ucme's avatar

If it does, then it’s purely subliminal.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t like adverts and I am not very brand aware but I am sure they must influence me on a subconscious level.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, I’m sure it is affected to some extent. I’d be a fool to believe otherwise. For example, scattering products all through the store so that you have to almost look down every isle to find what you’re looking for. And, along the way you go “Oh yeah! I need that too.” It’s designed to encourage impulse buying.

However, I’m fully aware that they’re trying to manipulate me so I can control it. (My husband, on the other hand, is a total sucker for commercials! Interesting, considering he’s a sales man by trade.)

Here2_4's avatar

Not one bit. Ibuy what I’m going to because that is what I need, and what works best for me. The only way advertising does anything for me, is when there is something I didn’t know about at all, I can ask my friends if they have any experience with this.
I used to love the Hallmark commercials, but when I am getting a greeting card I go right for the 99 cent section. All my cards have weird names like Anigraphics.
Pringles used to have real snappy commercials, but I eat whatever is in a big bag for little cash. I am not fooled by all the double bagging and puffed up with air ploy either. I check weights and such.
My apologies to those who make their living as advertisers, but I don’t go that route.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Certainly more than I realize, and certainly more than it should. That’s the beauty of modern day marketing. Short of dropping out and entering a monastery, there is no way to actually gauge the extent to which I am being manipulated. Anyone who shops in a supermarket and yet believes that they are invulnerable to marketing schemes is fooling themselves.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I used a marketing ploy at Rick’s family reunion yesterday. I’ve been going to them for 12 years, and I bring baked beans and salmon dip. I was just flabberghasted when no one ate my food! In the decades that I’ve been making those two dishes, without fail, they are a huge hit…with everyone except the folks at his reunion! It was OK, though. I’d just bring it all home and we’d eat it over the next couple of day.

I, personally, like a “presentation” of my food. I’d put the Salmon dip in a nice ceramic or cut glass bowl, and the beans in a cast iron pot. Friday I thought about it and realized that the food the others bring is either in a crock pot or in a plastic Tupperware container. So I put the salmon dip in a Tupperware container and the beans in a crock pot. Success! After 12 years they were finally scraping the side of the crock pot for the last of the beans like the rest of the world does and ¾ths of the dip was gone! Sent the left over home with his 92 year old Dad who had discovered that he just LOVES the stuff!

hearkat's avatar

I intentionally avoid advertising as much as someone in suburban United States can. I also try to avoid buying on impulse if an item is over $100, and will search the internet and read reviews – both professional and user reviews, if possible – before making a purchase.

I consider advertising as a company’s opportunity to make me aware that their product exists. Ideally, a product should be so good that it sells itself, and they shouldn’t need to resort to slick marketing tactics to fool me into thinking I want or need it. If I I sense that they’re dumbing things down or targeting a particular demographic or making too-good-to-be-true promises, I will be more hesitant and will scrutinize an item more closely to see why they are trying so hard to “sell” me on it.

Vermont has harsh, icy winters, so people want reliable all-wheel-drive, but may not want a big truck – Subaru fits that bill nicely. I do research cars but usually get fairly practical options, like hatchbacks that can be configured a lot of different ways to fit most items that I would ever need to haul.

I’m plus-sized, and pale-skinned, so I buy clothes based on how they’ll fit, what colors look good on me, and whether the pants have pockets for my mobile phone and belt loops for my keyring. I also prefer natural materials like cotton, silk, and linen because my skin likes to breathe. I try on the item before looking at the price, and make a mental decision of how much I think that piece is worth. If the tag is higher than that by a little, I’ll scrutinize it a bit more for quality of construction and frequency of wear I’ll get from it. If it’s over by a lot, I’ll put it back on the rack.

Food has always been purchased only after reading the ingredients. Currently, we are fortunate that we can buy most of our food directly from the farmers. What we don’t get from farmers we try to get organic and minimally processed.

Travel and luxury expenses are always checked for reviews – cleanliness and price are the top factors.

jca's avatar

@gorillapaws: Yes, I know that. Did I indicate that coupons are NOT marketing?

JLeslie's avatar

@zenvelo I hate my front load LG washer and the dryer I am not very fond of either. I bought them about 9 years ago. There was talk of a class action lawsuit for the washing machine, I don’t know if they ever did one. The Supreme court recently ruled that type of lawsuit is valid.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@JLeslie I’m very curious as to the faults in your LG front loading washer. When our 30 year old Kenmore washer died 4years ago we opted for the LG and have been happy with it. When the wife suggested that we should replace the 30 year old matching Kenmore gas fired dryer at the same time, I balked because I’m curious to see how long it will last. It just keeps chugging along without fault.

JLeslie's avatar

@stanleybmanly Do you have a front load LG? From what I understand they improved the rubber gasket that seals the door so it doesn’t get as moldy. I am actually going to call LG tomorrow to see if I can buy the part to replace mine. I hope it fits older washers. Although, the gasket is not the only problem regarding mold, the water lines have quite a bit of water that sit in them. Many of my girlfriends hate their front loading washer because of the mold, and they don’t all own LG. My same girlfriends also complain that sometimes they need to really soak their clothes and wish they could control the water level for very sweaty loads. Also, when we run a cycle with bleach we have to make sure the next wash is white also, because we all have had trouble with the bleach not completely emptying through the line. The wash cycle takes forever! If you want to try to “soak” clothes longer, then it is more than forever.

As far as the dryer I think the lint screen does a poor job of catching all the lint.

There are positives. The washing machine is great for delicate and it does seem to take stains at as much as any other type of washing machine. The dryer does leave my clothes less wrinkled than an old fashioned dryer.

talljasperman's avatar

I don’t purchase from companies that ruin my show. Unless they are sponsoring it.

gorillapaws's avatar

@jca It just came across that way from how I read it. As in I often don’t buy brand name stuff at full price, therefore I’m pretty immune to marketing. I’m seeing a lot of people who think just because they buy generics, or good value items they’re not affected by marketing. I didn’t intend my post to come across as rude, or to imply anything negative.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Advertising? Very little. I avoid exposure to ads wherever possible, because they are distracting my attention from something useful to something I didn’t ask to see. Marketing? Quite a bit actually. I’m a bit of a brand snob, especially with things I don’t know much about. I bought a bike last week largely on the basis of the brand – a known brand will only put their name to quality products, right? So if a company can build awareness and visibility without interrupting my TV viewing or internet activities, chances are I’ll look on them favourably.

Of course I do what I can to evaluate the quality of the product also. Hyundai are quite a large brand these days, but I’d still rather walk.

ibstubro's avatar

”...a known brand will only put their name to quality products, right?”

False, @FireMadeFlesh

Increasingly, companies will bastardize the brand if it looks like cash. Levi will make jeans for Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond has Waterford “Marquis” crystal.

Increasingly, companies are willing to put profit over customer loyalty or brand name.

zenvelo's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh My late father-in-law was a consumer electronics buyer for a department store in the 80s and 90s. He told me that Sony made three levels of all their TVs: a high priced one with a worthless gimmick that allowed them to charge a lot; a middle level one that was reasonably priced and excellent quality; and a lower level one that looked like it was as good as the middle one, but was actually a piece of crap. But they all said Sony.

snowberry's avatar

Not much. In the grocery I rarely buy processed foods (anything that comes in a package). I lean toward whole foods such as whole grains, fresh veggies, and so on. I don’t eat gluten or frozen foods, so that’s not a problem either.

I never pay attention to clothing brands, but go for items that fit.

With cars I do the research on sites like Consumer Reports, etc. and buy the best deal for what I need.

I shop at Lowes and at Home Depot equally. I am more impressed with the Lowes store for plants and a certain sales associate, but the last time I bought something, I liked the product better at Home Depot.

It’s pretty much the same story with everything else. I also don’t watch much TV, so I’m further insulated from advertising.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@JLeslie Yes our LG is a front loader with no mold or seal problems. The machine has a setting for extra water as well as one for an extra rinse. The bleach problem is also non existent in our machine. The wife is so enamored with the machine, that I suspect her of having an affair with the thing.

JLeslie's avatar

I guess they straightened out the problems.

JLeslie's avatar

@stanleybmanly I just realized you said it has an extra water setting, how does that work? How much extra?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@ibstubro and @zenvelo Good points, but in some things the brand does indicate quality. All it takes is a frank evaluation of the connotations of the brand. Any of the Swiss premium watch brands know that they will lose a significant market share if they release rubbish, because the brands are synonymous with skilled craftsmanship. Mercedes knows they have to stick to the highest standards of quality control, because they’ve seen the battering Toyota and VW took over their reliability issues. But Intel could probably get away with some faults, because the main battle grounds in CPUs are power use and heat dissipation.

For Levis, people who are buying clothes at Walmart probably don’t appreciate the things that make the proper Levis better than other jeans, so it won’t damage the brand so much. They’ll just think they’ve snared a bargain, without considering what Levis are usually like. Sony has been haemorrhaging money in their TV department for years, and they need to increase volumes. Consumer electronics have been steadily increasing in value for many years now, and if this trend doesn’t continue sales will dry up before they could sneeze while consumers wait for the next wave of reductions. That’s what happened when the Thailand floods destroyed most of the world’s biggest hard drive factories. And investing in quality means little when most people will upgrade to the new generation in two years anyway.

As far as the bike goes, I looked for one with Shimano parts in key places – brakes and gears, mainly. Shimano has a bullet proof reputation in the bike world, like Mercedes does with cars. Africa is full of Mercedes’ cars with a million kms on the clock. Only a true bike enthusiast can even name Shimano’s next best rival, so if their reputation was to be damaged, they would never regain their current market dominance, ever.

canidmajor's avatar

The idea that is so often expressed in this thread that various users are hardly ever exposed to advertising is not quite accurate. Marketers spend enormous amounts of money for the privilege of “product placement” in all sorts of places, not just obvious ads.

One of the most famous examples happened in 1982 with the release of E.T. m&ms refused to let Speilberg use their product because of the fear that children might be frightened by the association of their product with a scary alien. The sales of Reese’s Pieces went through the roof. I know that that is an extreme example, but it works with cars, appliances, devices, etc. an association that makes you feel good can be more powerful than a direct sables pitch.

Like I said above, all other factors being fairly equal, we are likely to base purchasing choices on unrecognized emotional cues.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Not much at all compared to the average person in the states. I have a habit of blowing right past print advertising as I consider it as annoying as popups. I ignore net adverts unless they are thrown right over the page I’m trying to view, then once I get rid of them I make a mental note to never visit that site again.

I haven’t owned a TV in over ten years and I am almost never exposed to them in my current travels, so I’m not bombarded like the rest of you, nor pressured to be thinner, or sexier, or to own a new car, or tempted by a plethora of restaurant and food ads all evening long telling me that I deserve this or that and should reward myself now, that there’s one near me, all I have to do is just make the call.

I’m not constantly told that, lf I can’t sleep or if I’m feeling depressed, that l should tell my doctor first thing in the morning and have him put me on benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or tricyclic psychotropics. Or that for every little ache and pain i need to be taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.

I’m not continuously reminded of the effects of aging and that there is a drug, or technique, or doctor out there that can relieve me of those symptoms no matter how slight they may be, or at least relieve me of the appearance of those symptoms, the effects of aging—I am not being sent a constant message that aging is something bad, unnatural and unnecessary. What a bunch of horseshit. I wear my age and hard-earned experience like a mantle, my physical and emotional scars I wear like battle ribbons. Try and take them away, just fucking try it..

And I don’t constantly feel inadequate because characters in TV shows designed for me to identify with have the latest this or that and poor old me has neglected to rush out and buy it. There isn’t a lot of billboards or other advertising on the oceans. There is much less advertising along the roads in the countries I frequent. I’m not exposed. And I am happier for it. Life is so much more fun when you are not being told you are inadequate 24 hours per day, 365 days a year, year after year until the day you finally, mercifully die..

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