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Silencing the Noise & Ending the Dupe Effect

Consenting to Crazy Marketing Schemes

Frustrated Business WomanIn today’s marketing era one of my major gripes is being bombarded with unsolicited mail, email, telephone calls, and social media advertisements. As a self-professed control freak, I need to protect myself against these marketing avenues of access.

Today I will share with you some of the steps I’ve taken to substantially lessen the amount of marketing materials I receive and a few money saving tips. I think it’s important for us as consumers to remember that we do have choices.

Do any of the following bullet points sound familiar?

  • Need it now…
  • Don’t miss! Final Hours…
  • Must Have…
  • Don’t miss these…
  • Last day!…
  • ACT NOW!…

The above are actual partial email subject lines from a number of online retailers to which I subscribe. As you’ll note the last five bullets use ALL CAPS in one or more words within their subject line – this is intentional as it creates a sense of urgency to get you to open the email.

Here’s the thing. These email tactics create an emotional response to urge you into acting within a specified timeframe. However unless the company is going out of business there will ALWAYS be another sale, another offer, another opportunity.

To give you an example of how this works, not too long ago I was looking to renew my homeowner’s warranty with a different company. During the research period I found a company that looked promising and submitted my email address for additional information.

Over the course of a couple of months I kept getting emails offering the first month free and an additional discount. Each email stated that I had to take advantage of the offer or lose this “valuable deal”. Well, guess what? I’m still getting new emails with the same offer.

Determining Needs Vs. Wants

I sometimes struggle with convincing myself that my wants are needs. When I used to go to actual brick and mortar stores a technique that worked well for me was selecting something I really wanted and carrying it around with me. Because of my internal dialog of having to justify the possible purchase, inevitably I would talk myself out of many items prior to checking out.

Thanks to online shopping the needs vs wants struggle has intensified for me but adding items to carts, then leaving the site has proved very effective. Doing this not only saves me money but occasionally the store will send me a reminder email about my abandoned cart and sometimes to my delight the item has been marked down.

In addition to talking myself out of purchases I live by the following three points:

  • Free Gift With Purchase – The problem with this theory is that gifts by their nature are free. If you have to buy something to get something free that “free” item is costing you money. The beauty industry is widely known for this practice
  • Free Shipping – offered in exchange for a certain amount purchased is not free. There are so many retailers now that offer free shipping and even those who don’t will often have special days of the year where they do offer true free shipping.
  • Trial Subscriptions – use great caution in trial subscriptions and pay close attention to the fine print, specifically the cancellation/opt-out policy. If I do a trial subscription and I pretty much know up-front that I won’t be in it for the long haul I put a reminder on my calendar so that I can cancel. Providing your credit/debit card information in exchange for a free trial can be tricky because the company then holds you hostage once that cancel by date passes. In this competitive environment it never hurts to shop around for trials that do not require credit card information.

The Power of Choice

Picture of a woman with yelling into a bull horn.

After years of feeling powerless, frustrated, and angry, last year I finally had to get aggressive in dealing with junk mail. The first thing I did was collect the offending pieces of mail, then I looked for contact information, made calls and/or went to the company website requesting to be removed from their database. While in this process I happened upon the following websites that put an end to the non-stop advertisements.

  • Federal Trade Commission –  This was one of the first sites I went to as they have tons of information and referrals to additional websites.
  • – (DMA short for Direct Marketing Association) is a great resource that allows you to set your mail preferences.
  • – To reduce unsolicited credit and insurance offers you can opt-out for 5 years or permanently.
  • – To reduce telemarketing calls from home and cell phones you can register your phone numbers at the National Do Not Call Registry. Although I’ve registered mine years ago and periodically check to ensure the number is still on the list, I’ve noticed an increase of spam marketing calls to my cell. Currently my solution to this situation is to not answer numbers I do not recognize.

Another way to lessen the amount of mail you receive is to go totally electronic from banking to bill paying. It’s efficient, convenient and there’s less to shred.

“There are three constants in life… change, choice and principles.” ~Stephen Covey

6 thoughts on “Silencing the Noise & Ending the Dupe Effect

  1. Excellent tips. It reminds me that sometimes, when I’m early for the local news, I catch parts of infomercials that claim this or that offer is limited or time-sensitive, and I’ve been hearing the exact thing for months. My favorites are when they tell you that, if your name starts with A – l or whatever, you can call in today, while if you’re in the second half of the alphabet, you need to wait till tomorrow.

    1. Good one Donna I forgot about those blasted infomercials. Yes some of them even go so far as to say you have to call within the next 10 minutes. I don’t recall hearing the ones with your name beginning with whatever letter of the alphabet but then again I block most of them out.

  2. nothing is ever really FREE… red flags pop up whenever I find something thats suppose to be a free or a gift or trial that suddenly requires credit card information along with contact details….so not only are they going to spam you they scam you as well. oooh look i just won a brand new iPhone for being the millionth visitor to some site *clicks ignore*

    the only mail I would love to find in the letter box are handwritten sentiments of the posted kind ^_^

    1. You are 100% correct. Nothing is free. If there is a “do this” “click here” “provide…” or as I said in the post buy something, it’s not free. For those things that appear free there is almost always a cost associated in some form.

      Yeah a handwritten letter I almost forgot what that was. Those are actually priceless these days but are so welcome. 🙂

  3. Hah, you have to love how dramatic advertisements are these days: “STOP WHATEVER IT IS YOU’RE DOING AND BUY THIS NOW! WE’RE PRETTY SURE YOU DON’T NEED IT.” Awesome and really insightful!

    1. Yeah, and I just don’t have the paitence and find them annoying.

      Thank you

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