A vicious marketing circle
IN A SPECIALTY store in a nearby mall, I espied a type of product I use. I said to the salesperson, “Your product costs twice as much as [Brand X]. This is your chance to convince me that yours works better.”
He said, “They sell [Brand X] in Walmart, so it’s probably not as good.”
Not as good doesn’t follow from sold in Walmart, and I said so.
“Ours is made locally in small batches,” he continued, “from all natural and organic ingredients.”
I didn’t feel like going into the problem with protectionist economics, much less why the natural-organic craze is not just a scam but socially and economically harmful—that’s for another post—so I contented myself with pointing out that works better doesn’t follow from locally made, small batches, natural, or organic.
He was out of ammunition. Yet he deserves credit. He was polite, didn’t argue, and did his best. Moreover, locally made, small batches, natural, and organic usually make for strong copy—not because they imply real benefits, but because a misinformed public tends to think they do.
It’s an example of a vicious marketing circle. The more the public demands products that are locally made, natural, and organic, the more marketers will supply and promote them; and the more marketers supply and promote them, the more the public will demand them.
Condemn marketers if you wish, however, such trends usually begin with consumers. Marketing more often follows than sets trends.