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How Much Does Marketing Work On You?

November 19th, 2012


I used to think that marketing didn’t really work on me.  I wanted to believe that I was smart enough to know what I wanted to buy.  I thought marketing and advertising only really worked on “stupid people”.

Add and I were thinking about this question today when we were shopping for groceries and other basic stuff we needed.

We realized how important marketing was when we were thinking of which toothpaste to buy.  Shopping for something like toothpaste is interesting when you think about it.  I imagine that most people don’t care at all about the brand name in terms of “coolness”.  It’s not like BMW, LV, Apple, or even Starbucks.  People won’t judge you at all in terms of which toothpaste you use.  They won’t even know.

I also imagine that most people are looking for the same things when they are shopping for toothpaste.  I think we all want toothpaste to:

1.  Make our teeth clean

2.  Make them extra white

3.  Taste good

4.  Not be ridiculously expensive

I also guess that most people don’t spend any time researching toothpaste brands.  I know I don’t.  So, how do we make our decision?  We all buy toothpaste so our decision must be based on something.

I really don’t know how exactly I make my choice.  First of all, I don’t really want to spend much time thinking about this decision.  It’s not like I’m buying a new car or a new house.  I won’t spend more than 30 seconds thinking about it.  I won’t even look at all of the options or all of the prices.  I guess most people are the same, or similar.

I quickly look at all the boxes of toothpaste and just grab the box that looks like it would be the best one.  If it says “tooth whitening” and costs a bit more money, I’ll probably buy it, especially if the box looks and feels good.  I know that I’m probably wasting a bit of money on buying the nice box, but for some reason I don’t care.  Part of me feels more relaxed when I buy a better looking box of toothpaste.  Part of me believes that the toothpaste in the prettiest box is also the best in quality.  Logically, I know they are all almost the exact same product in different boxes, but I willingly allow myself to almost get fooled.

After I chose the toothpaste I wanted, I realized that I make almost all of my shopping decisions based on marketing.  I have almost no other information to make a choice on most of the stuff I buy.  I just buy the one that looks clean, fresh, and good.  A nice package made of nice coloured stuff makes a huge difference when you have no idea of how else to make a choice.

In many ways, I absolutely hate marketing.  I wish it didn’t exist.  In my little dream world, I wish that people bought only the best quality stuff.  Then companies could focus all of their time and energy on making the best products.  The best stuff would win and the terrible products would lose and those companies would fail.  The unfortunate reality, however, is that marketing is too important to ignore.  If you totally forget about it, you won’t make enough money to eat or turn on a light, even if you have the best product in the world.

Add and I found out how important it is with this website.  Our original plan was to only focus on making the VIP section as good as possible.  We hoped that just making a great product was all we had to do.  We really want this website to be the world’s best for learning English.  We don’t want to just say it is, we want it to be TRUE.  (We actually believe it is by the way).  Anyway… The problem is that we need to focus some of our time on marketing.  There is no way to totally forget about image, even if we want to.  That’s my experience anyway.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

I also want to thank everyone who has been writing comments on these blogs.  They are really interesting to read, and great practice for your writing.  It’s awesome to see your ages, countries, and jobs.  It makes the comments come alive.  It reminds me that this website is for real people.  That sounds kind of stupid but I think you know what I mean.

I’d love to read your opinion on a couple things:

1.  How much do you think marketing affects your buying decisions in your own life?

2. Does good marketing matter more for certain types of products?  Which ones?  Why?

3.  How do you think we could improve the marketing of our VIP page?  (We try our best on making the actual product as good as possible, we’d just love to hear if you guys have any marketing ideas too.  You guys are smart and we take your opinions seriously.


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31 Responses to “How Much Does Marketing Work On You?”

  1. Sereja Says:

    November 19th, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    27, Belarus, programmer
    Marketing is tottaly great thing.
    Several days I went to supermarket. I just wanted to buy new jeans. But the seller told me: “Ohhhh, probably you go to the gym. Please try this t-shirt. It underline your muscles”. So, i bought not only jeans, but 2 t-shirts. In that moment i understood, that vendor made compliment to me. I understand, that he wanted make me to buy something. But i did it. And i’m happy. Thank you vendor.

    So, what i want to advise you? Do compliments to us. I dodn’t know how, just do it )))

  2. Luiz, age 48, brazilian. Says:

    November 19th, 2012 at 1:19 pm


    About toothpaste and other stuffs like soap, shampoo. I do not think much to buy these products. Only caught one whose brand for years I have been buying …
    How marketing affects me? Today I think no more, was recorded, why not think much, but I remain faithful to known brands and have a long time tested and consumed.

  3. Oksana Says:

    November 19th, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Hello all ,
    I guess, it would be silly to think that marketing strategy is not important. Most of the manufacturers earn their money not because of the best quality of their products but because of the good marketing policy.
    But marketing is important as long as
    a) your product is new
    b) your product is ordinary, usual (has nothing special in comparison with similar products of other manufacturers)
    But if you are in some way special, if you produce goods of the best quality/provide best quality services – you don’t need any marketing.
    Just look at Apple – they don’t need any advertisement, they are successful due to products they make.
    So my advice for you guys is just to keep it up. Some marketing will do no harm but it’s not that important. You are doing good so just don’t stop and your success will find you.

    Oh and about the toothpaste…:))) I personally never buy one that is the most advertised on TV or somewhere. I prefer to take my dantist’s advice. It might be a bit more expensive and much less advertised but one of the better quality. Hopefully :)

  4. Asad Khan Says:

    November 19th, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    If you really want your product to be sold like hot cakes then you need to LIE big time and MANY TIMES. Say something like ” You are using natural phrases in your podcasts that 4 out of 5 native speakers use them on a daily basis”. You’ll learn the language quickly. An attention grabbing headline. Humans are lazy creatures by nature so they want an easy fix to their problem. A WHITE LIE goes a long way to make your ordinary product look good. Just like that of Irish polyglot Benny’s claim “Learn any language fluently in three months”.

  5. Flora Says:

    November 19th, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Chinese girl, graduate student.

    Marketing is important to keep people updated of their knowledge of broad range of stuff, so when we come to the purchase decision, we won’t get lost quite easily. We only need a little bit wisdom not to be led by wrongly designed commercials.

    I am not a VIP member, so unfortunately can’t give my thoughts about it here. I believe many VIPs should have pretty cool ideas.

  6. mostafa Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 12:13 am

    i am mostafa from egypt
    i live in egypt port said city

  7. Edmund Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 2:29 am

    I believe marketing is as important as product quality. For some reasons, we pick goods just based on our intrinsic sense, especially for groceries or tiny stuff. When we feel it is good, we will buy it even without any empirical evidences. And the marketing is to make customers believe subconsciously that the products are with good quality, and meeting our desire .

  8. Olga Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 3:46 am

    have background in advertising/pr now trying to understand what I want to do within next few years

    I used to be crazy about certain brands and I realize it. But recently I caught myself that now I completely hate making choice because I want to buy really good stuff for good money, so I check information online, reviews, prices etc and I waist soooo much time to buy even such simple things as shampoo (though toothpaste is still one of few things thant I can buy spontaneoulsly , it takes only 5 minutes consideration in the store, but not 30 seconds ). So it’s kind of obsession. it’s terribly hard to understand what product I really need. I hate that.
    But I noticed a difference. More and more often my choise based on reviews of bloggers and other consumers that I check online. Direct advertising/marketing becomes less importnant for some types of goods.
    Opinion of other people – that this producst works/doesnt work – that’s what I need.
    So I can advice you guys to concentrate on that side of marketing.

    And one more example for you-
    I have been reading one interesting web site for 6 months with information about personal development etc. I don’t do it daily as I am pretty lazy. There is only one author here and I can compare this site with yours, both are unique and offer high quality information . That site also has kind of VIP section, but I never used it, as I didnt spend a lot of my time to learning, just read it from time to time. But recently the owner closed the essential parts of the articles , now you should pay for them. Though you can see first part of each article (about 1/3) and comments left by others earlier. Guess what I gonna do next – pay for it! The same I do with your cool lessons – within 1.5 year I was listening 1-2-3 lessons per month. But if you close scripts – there is 50% chance (not 100%, because at the moment I’m learning english fool time in language school) that I would pay for them and for the rest VIP lessons if you’ll sell it as a set. And possibly I will find more time for learning, because you know, when you pay for that, it’s like investment, you need get maximum benefit/profit. So if you want to make more money and motivate people learn more… then go for it! :)
    And people often dont appreciate free/very cheap stuff, but as soon as they pay, the consider it more seriously. This stereotype works for me as well.

  9. Omar Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Hi everyone,

    My name is Omar from the middle east . I’m a first year computer science major.This is my first time to participate in this blog.

    I hate to say that but i often get into the marketing trap.wheneve I go grocery I tend to buy stuff that have a tv advrtisment or something like that. The reason behind that I guess is that I don’t wanna buy something I have no clue about it. I rather get something at least I have abit info about it. I always tell myself few dollars doent matter as long as I’m satasfied with my product.

  10. Aleksandr Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Russia, Novosibirsk, Engineer
    Personality I hate all this industry of advertising as I hate any else what controls people by knowing men’s psychology. Yes, It gives really result and helps to reach any aim what they want (money, big position, girlfriend, etc) but all of this is based on lie.. it’s not natural.. It’s is the main reason which hinders to us to live more close to natural way, to this way where only the best one will continue to go up, another one – fail! It’s natural law of life!
    I think we can stop it – When we will stop to be controlled by ours feelings what we gets by seeing any bright preview trailer. But i know it’s really difficult to make a difference between feelings.. between feelings what we gets by false or by true way.. that is the real matter of our daily life!
    That about this website – I think you guys should go ahead whatever happens! You does so much good for all us – you does the thing what helps us to be better and it should be gives you unique feelings which has no any compare with any money! (I hope it’s so). Keep in mind the first point – to give a goods to world, the second one(my be the last one) – to make a money! – that is my main advise to us! Keep going and good luck in your deal!

  11. fiona Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 8:12 am

    I’m 33, and I’ve been doing my own food shopping for about 15 years. All of the items I buy are based on trial and error. If I’m going to buy a product I haven’t tried before because they’re out of my usual one or I feel like a change, then the product must have the ingredients or abilities that I’m looking for, and not be rediculously priced. If I like it, it goes on the “keep” list. if I don’t, I won’t buy it again. Simple! I will say though that for non-food products I tend not to buy the store’s own-brand, because again, through experience, I’ve found that 8 times out of 10 they don’t “cut the mustard”.

  12. Gorg Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Gorg from Iran,Master’s student of TEFL

    Good topic

  13. Carina Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I stay in China for one year.
    About the toothpaste, pretty actual in my case, because I bought one yesterday;) I don’t know chinese brands, so the first thing I did: I was looking for a western make. I found it, but the second thing I must care about is price (I’m a student). Of course the overseas products are more expensive. At the end I bought a chinese one which could taste good.
    However, I hardly ever buy the cheapest product. For some ridiculous reason (concerning the toothpaste) I may think that when I do it, my teeth will fall out or something…

    Keeping to the point, I think that most of people choose the product that seems in some way familiar to them, but the crucial factor is price;)

  14. Joaquín Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Venezuela, living in Spain and working in Africa (33)

    Thanks for this blog. I have the same perception of marketing than you. I always try to buy something for what is in terms of quality, perfomance and price, avoiding to buy just for how makes me look or a trend. However, when you talk about that companies have to produce the best products I have a different point of view. Not always people want to buy the best quality products (for example a toothpaste) and that is my case. Rather than buying a nice looking box of toothpaste I prefer to buy a balanced price-quality brand. Moreover, when I go to the supermarket i always try to buy goods that are the cheapiest but in some special cases as favorites foods I go for best quality.

  15. vhn Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Hey Andy and add,
    I’m Shady from Iran. I’m a teacher.very good topic. In my opinion, marketing has an absolutely important role in buying stuffs. When I go shopping , the first thing that comes to my attention is advertisements which I’ve seen before. Especially if an actor or actress has advertised that. But for buying food for instance chocolate and sweets I want to try various brands and make experiences .I want to thank you for your nice and useful blog . I love it very much. I love to speak English fluently and I think I’ll be successful with your help. Good luck

  16. Godfather93 Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Ivan, 19. Belgrade, Serbia.

    I really don’t give fu#k about ads i any form. In fact, oh, God, i hate ‘em, i hate ‘em so much.. Maybe i just chose to think that i don’t care, maybe i really don’t..

    I apologize for swearing, that was the only way to express my anger.. :D

  17. Godfather93 Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 4:16 pm


  18. Andy Says:

    November 20th, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Thanks for all the comments everyone. I just want to say one thing. I’ve noticed that sometimes people are confusing ads with marketing. These 2 things are in fact a bit confusing. In this blog, I’m mainly talking about the way a product is presented. Many products have no TV ads or a very small advertising budget. I’m talking about the types of packaging and look and feel of how products when they are presented to customers. I know that very often, but not always, we’ll buy products we’ve never seen advertised before. We sometimes buy something like toothpaste by the price, look and colours of the box, and what it says on the box. I’m mainly talking about this kind of marketing rather than the TV commercials. Thanks! Keep the comments rolling. They are awesome!

  19. Marcos Says:

    November 21st, 2012 at 3:33 am

    what´s up buddies? my name is marcos I´m from central mexico, and I really love your
    blog, and your podcasts they´re great.well talking about the marketing I think it´s
    a lot important.why? just because we like it or not the tv commercials and all the radio publicity, contains a lot of subliminal messages, that goes unconsciouslly deep,deep into
    our minds,well, that,s my point of view,and talking about toothpaste and stuff´,
    I don´t care so much about that,I go for the cheapest,anyway is for the same thing,thanks a lot and see you later alligators.

  20. Mr D Says:

    November 21st, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Hey, I am Dmitry, 28, Russian, software developer living in Sweden/Stockholm.

    I don’t really care about advertisements because I don’t actually watch TV much. And anyway I do have some “anchors” in the back of my mind about brand names and trends. And if I am in a supermarket browsing for what I need in my house I think I just match what I see to those anchors and make a decision. Also sometimes I make decisions based on prices. But then I start thinking of “why this toothpaste is much cheaper than the one I know”. I wish I knew much more about what toothpaste made of and what of that is decent and what is bad for my health to be able to choose from the two consciously. Either we think or just use anchors in our memories. Today is a hard time to use our brains for thinking of everything.

  21. Elham Says:

    November 21st, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Hiiiiiiiii. Before starting reading, I’d like to express my thank to you. The writers of these really cool blogs. I want you to know I really enjoy reading tem and I do love your Englis. I learn alot through them. I’m Elham, 23 year old girl from Iran. When I find a new mail that reports of a new writing , I really really get happy. Thanksssssssssss………

  22. Elham Says:

    November 21st, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Hi again. I read it. Wow I loved it as always. Emmm, seems you like the reader’s comments, and that’s why I love to put comments too, cause often I’m not sure if my comments are read! :-)

    First I’m going to read other comments and them I’ll sure write my own opinion about Marketing.

    Hope to hear from you Andy,

  23. Hamid Reza Says:

    November 21st, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    This is hamid reza from Iran and I am working in a Technical Inspection company and my field of work is risk based analysis and fitness-for-service assessment. I applied last year to continue my educational plan in Australia and I finally got admission and I am preparing my materials for getting visa and who knows travelling to a English spoken country. So, wish me the luck Add.
    In response to your first query, I think it depends on the type of product that you buy. As you said Add, there is a difference when you wish to buy a toothpaste and a Laptop. Nobody cares about the mark of toothpaste and just what attracts people is packaging and stuff like this.But when I want to buy a laptop the whole thing changes. I do do so many research to find out which label is reliable and can meet my requirement. Now here you see how marketing can affect my final decision. According to your second query, I could say yes. In my point of view, the more price the commodity has, the more marketing does matter. So, that depends on the the cost of final product. Car industry can be a good example of that one.
    Finally, in order to improve the marketing of your VIP page, the following hints should be taken into consideration:
    - we have just your sound, it is better to have your picture. That sound pretty cool.
    - invite non-native English spoken guys to your program and see how it is going?
    - improve your Facebook page (if you have) and provide guys with more option,
    - produce your program among people instead of producing it in your apartment, just let people you are real and can make a connection with you guys.

  24. Seth Says:

    November 21st, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I’m a student from Bulgaria.

    Marketing really does have a huge impact on the choices we make. It just does what it’s supposed to do lol. :D But really, when I buy something I don’t care about much (like the toothpaste thing you mentioned) I just generally buy something I see in commercials regularly. It’s stupid, but it’s just the way it is. And the pretty-box thing is also true for me. That also applies to your website – now it looks much more professional than it used to and that makes an impact on people. For me personally, the more simplistic, minimalistic, easy-to-use and user-friendly the website looks, the better the product is. Even if it’s not really like that.

    I like your VIP page, but I can’t comment about the VIP section since I’m a teen and can’t afford it. :D


  25. winning Says:

    November 22nd, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Andy, you are crowdsourcing. :)

    I would suggest you to buy non-fluorine kids toothpaste which has less concentration of harmful substances compared to adults toothpaste.


  26. Mardy Says:

    November 22nd, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Mardy, 29, Taipei, videomaker.

    Well I’m not a marketing guy, but I’m kind of guessing maybe there are some financial problems behind your brothers so that I can truly feel, most recently, the site has been improved, now it’s much better than 2 years ago when I just found it. Anyway, I think u guys are been great, just keep rolling it, and not in a hurry, people will always be here. Or u can do some advertising stuffs too, find a good brand, product which everyone is using everyday, and recommend us as same as the toothpaste one, telling us to try it because u guys really think (have experienced) which is really good. Before then, U can visit the company first, and telling them u have confidence to make their product booming and only charging them low fee than others.

  27. Kinga, 23, student Says:

    November 23rd, 2012 at 11:01 am

    First of all I would like to thak u guys for all this topics, podcast and heart which u put into your work. I need to confess than I’am not very well in english despite the fact I learn this language from 1st grade elementary school. Now, I know that the key to success is a lot of reading, talking and listening , not all this useless exercises in studens textbooks. When it comes to marketing u have absolutelly right. Every day I bought a lot o things which I saw in magazines or tv despite the fact I really don’t need them. I thought that marketing doesnt work on me, but is not true:)

  28. Mehdi Jebelli Says:

    November 23rd, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Hi, i’m 29 year old from lovely iran , and fortunately i work as supervisor at a cleaner materials sales corporation for 7 years,
    First of all i must to thank you two brothers and i definitely have to appreciate your effort
    to learn us something in english.
    In my opinion this is an amazing topic and as we now we can talk about this kind of marketting more than 2 hours at least, but about what andy’s asked, i can say most of people when going to shop something like toothpaste the first thing that force us to make a focus on a brand among several brands is the type and being colorful of the box,and what it says, after that we’re going to compairing it’s price to others, and finally we’ll make our choice and buy it.
    Mention this point is necessary that you have never seen any advertisement of those toothpaste.
    I will be happy if i have your replying back about my comment dear ANDY
    Thanks again.

  29. Mehdi Jebelli Says:

    November 23rd, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    I almost forgot that to say :
    Unfortunately because of our location in iran we can’t be member of VIP and we can’t buy
    your 37$’s product, help us in another way if you don’t mind

  30. Nataliya Says:

    November 23rd, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    First of all, there are few types of consumer goods: everyday-demand, special demand, prestige demand and passive. All these goods have some differences in promotion and placement. And the role of brend is very strong when we’re talking about prestige goods. Almost always the only thing we use for taking a decision is brend. That’s why when purchasing toothpaste the most important thing is adrevertisement at TV and places of sales.
    I usually buy the same toothpaste with good flavour and good afterwards feelings. I’m not running for new words at the package and ‘new’ technologes, cause I know: it’s all marketing. Just think about Saint Valentine’s day. It should have been invented by marketologs!
    About VIP section. I think you should build good relationships with your clients and use direct marketing. You’re doing really very well and I admire you, guys! Wish you the best!

  31. maciek Says:

    July 20th, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I used to think that marketing didn’t really work on me as well. But more and more I think about it I realize I was wrong. Mentioned toothpaste by you is a good example. For sure decisions on buying things like toothpase muste based on something and that is when marketing comes in. When it comes how much marketing affects my buing decisions I think I have control over it. I am aware of products that I want to buy only becasue of let say cool advertisement (especially the funny ones). Doing shopping I rely on brand that is known and on the price hoping that higher price means higher quality, therefore I do not buy the cheapest things. Of course advertisement is not everything. Once I but something first time I check if it was worth buying, if it was not there is no chance I would buy it again no matter how good product advertisement is. So maybe advertisement nowadays is all about hooking us on products that diversity of them is enormous.
    For sure certain types of products needs more attention in terms of marketing. Especially the ones that are targeted at particular group of people. These people need to know that this product is for them, that is supposed to meet their requirements and with no advertisement this would be hard to achieve.
    When it comes to china232 I found out about your website by word of mouth and nowadays is one of the moste important type advertisement. So I think you really know what you are doing ;)

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