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Archive for May, 2007

“We have met the enemy and he is us”

Friday, May 11th, 2007



We have all been hit with how many of the products we use are imported.  I have followed many articles, TV newscasts and editorials regarding the exporting of US jobs to China and other countries.  Legislators blame each other for creating the exodus of jobs.  And much has been written about the short term, short sighted company purchasing practices and executive decisions that weigh only the immediate cost savings. 


I read all of this and shake my head.  Not because they are wrong, but because they are focusing on the wrong individuals.  Who is at fault?  You.  Me. The guy next door. Grandma ordering from QVC and the Aunt Biddie ordering from the Home Shopping Channel.  And  the people who think shopping is a hobby, a pass time, not something that needs to be done when a specific need arises. 


My father worked for Crosley’s  in Cincinnati.  Remember that name?  They made radios, televisions, refrigerators, and such.  He worked for them from 1936 until they closed in the mid-60’s.  The last Crosley televisions were made in the late 50’s. Why?  Imports.  People wanted their televisions and they wanted them NOW.  And they wanted them cheap.  By the Seventies you couldn’t find a US manufactured Television.  Oh, they had US names, Zenith, RCA, GE and so forth, but where were they made?  Not here.  First Japan, then Taiwan, later Korea, now China.


I don’t recall anyone bemoaning the loss of jobs then.  Americans kept on buying goods from overseas. Volkswagens, Sony, Datsun, and Hitachi.   And we developed a culture that treats everything as “disposable” goods. We don’t fix it up, use up, and recycle.  We just throw it out.  We treat shopping as past time. We wander through stores, or thumb through catalogues, looking to send more of our money overseas. “Oh my, I simply must have that (insert name of useless goods here).” So we buy a bobble head made in China, or we buy a table cloth made in Malaysia, or the tip-proof coffee mug for our car (made in Japan) which was produced in Taiwan, and don’t forget, we just  have to have the cute little whatzits for the kids to play with, which was made in any of the above. And it will be in the dumpster in a week or so. And we simply MUST have a blow up Halloween snow blizzard on our front porch, along with similar junk for all the other holidays and days that wish they were holidays.  And we positively must have our expensive running shoes or basket ball shoes for our teenagers to be socially accepted.  Even if it means they too were made in China.  Just try to buy American-made anything anymore!


And most of this stuff winds ups in landfills and we go out and get more.   Drive by on any trash day, and look at what is in the piles at the curb.  Old TV’s, busted microwaves, plastic geegaws that have been broken.  Cheap assemble-it-yourself  furniture that has collapsed, crumbled, gotten wet or just doesn’t fit the decor anymore. Cheap plated goods from India that no longer fit the design scheme or were just boring. And you know very well that they weren’t plated to any spec that would be approved here, by EPA, OSHA, or any other environmental agency here.  But they wind up in OUR landfills!


When was the last time you looked on the bottom of any product to see where it was made BEFORE you bought it?  Yes, the jobs are gone. More will go.  And each of us is responsible for their going. Our rapacious consumption of fuel, driven by our need for our play toys – boats,  ATV’s, motorcycles, scooters and other fun motor sports. And we MUST have our Ipods, Computer Games, VCR’s, DVD players and all those other desirable but non-essential electronic geegaws.  Our insatiable appetite for novelty and cheap prices has led us to trade our future for a handful of magic beans and sparklies.


We built one of the world’s greatest nations by taking raw materials, and by adding skill and innovation turned those materials into the things our markets and the world wanted. We drove that economic growth through hard work, and ingenuity, and a thriftiness we seem to have forgotten, lost, or nor longer see as admirable traits.  Now we have abandoned what made us strong, and try to re-build our economy by selling each other hamburgers and fries, bogus stocks, Viagra, and porn on the inter-net.


On top of all this, we must also deal with the fact that we have about 280 million people.  China has over ONE BILLION, and India had another Billion.  Between the two, they account for one-third of the world’s population. We represent one-eighth of their population and one-twentieth of the world population. Now the rest of the world wants what we have had for decades. The economic impact on the availability of the finite supply of raw materials and fuel has driven costs sky high. In the last eighteen months we have seen gas prices go over $3.00 per gallon.  We have seen prices for brass triple, prices for aluminum, and die cast double or more, and prices of steel go up to 180% of what it was. 


And we can’t figure out why?   There is only so much of everything to go around. So the more that is used, the more it will cost.  This is basic economics at work.  We often refer to the “Law of Supply and Demand,” which gives us a false image of something that can be legislated.  But in fact, this is not a “law’ but an underlining principle of how things work and is as immutable as gravity.  We talk about the “Law of Gravity” too, but in fact, no legislature, no senate, no dictator can change these basic forces.  So it is with the pricing.  You can artificially support or depress pricing – – – for awhile.  But the cost of such controls has just been moved to somewhere else, and in time it will come back to bite you in the behind.


We have sold our right to be the major power on the planet for feel-good thingamajigs and our lifestyle choices.  We will soon see how England felt when the US became the world power and they lost their impact on the rest of the world.  That is our destiny, to become the old men and women that once dominated the planet and now have to yield to the power in the Far East.  Oh, it’s not totally gone yet, but it is quickly diminishing.


In our pride, we can’t seem to understand why.

It is simple – You reap what you sow.

Perception Marketing.

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Perception Marketing.

There are marketing associations promoting a one sided information group to recruit the “more money than brains” majority of this Nation’s dumbest, year by year.

Many marketing campaigns have targeted consumers who will never realize they are being manipulated by “trust us we’re experts” who create an illusion; to promote an industry and sell products.

The best marketing campaigns/PR happens with people unaware they are being manipulated. Unsuccessful marketing campaigns/PR happens when people are aware they are being manipulated. Many consumers are utilizing the Internet as an instant resource for researching manufacturers and their distribution of products and services as well as their selling team. This puts many consumers in the driver’s seat and many companies in the hot seat.

Although many consumers have been led to perceive exactly what marketing campaigns have set to accomplish, many consumers today are educating themselves via the Internet to avoid being manipulated.
Websites geared to specific professions such as should be appreciated and promoted. Alternatives such as these are needed for consumers to research and further educate, this way everything keeps balanced and not one sided to sway the perception of the consumers in any industry. Marketing to consumers in concentration of a perception based marketing plan has been widely used within many industries years ago, but that was then, and this is now.

While creating public perception with marketing has worked throughout the 40’s selling cigarettes as beneficial to the health as one example
through today. We know the aftermath of this type of campaign today. This type of marketing is backfiring as insulting the intelligence of many of today’s consumer. Time has come where consumers do not need their minds molded and they do not need their tastes formed.

Consumers see the players with money who are paying for their images. Consumers need only what they need, although, perception is a great way to change the consumers thinking, that was yesterday. Marketing companies better utilize plans that do not manipulate as the Internet is so widely used and companies are easily researched.

Today’s consumers have the ability to access instant information via the Internet in the comfort of their home instantly 24/7 and educate
themselves with product knowledge or company services. Relationship building between the consumer/salesman/company must be excellent today as there are many choices in the market place.

Trusting in a product, service and the company itself has a great deal of decision time for the consumer and has bearing on consumer
spending, sometimes more so than price does.

Kitty Watkins

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