This is an inaugural missive of what I hope will become a regular commentary on consumption and marketing issues. (Some of you know I’ve been using this domain for family travel blogs for the last year or so. Those are still here, just filed away).
For this first entry, I’d like to reflect on being a professor of marketing, while simultaneously being a person who believes strongly we should consume less. It’s a conundrum, for certain. This conundrum will flavor this blog.
Sometimes I introduce myself as “the anti-marketing marketing professor.” But that’s a joke. I honestly believe that teaching and learning the art and science of marketing is a worthy endeavor, and that organizations that get marketing right are much better off than those who do not. That marketing helps companies, but also helps our economic system to flourish, and that marketing, done well, should inform and help consumers too.
While perhaps not as obviously, I think we would all be better off learning to be better consumers. What does better mean in this context? I don’t just mean smarter deal shoppers, although that is part of it. I don’t just mean being more aware of contextual influences on our purchasing behavior, although that is part of it. I don’t just mean being reflexive consumers, stopping to wonder whether we truly have a need, although that is part of it too. And I don’t just mean being cognizant of the social and cultural system at play that influences our consumption in direct and indirect ways, although that is part of it too. I mean all of it. At once. And the difficulties inherent in trying to do that. All the time.
So, expect this blog to be more about consumption and consumers than anything else. I hope to fashion a mix of research insight, commentary on current marketing and consumption trends and happenings, and maybe even some consumption-related advice. We’ll see as it evolves. Feel free to comment, to vent, to argue, and of course, to share!
3 thoughts on “Inaugural Consumption Blog”
I’m looking forward to reading more.
Just thinking about “better consumers”. I’d be interested to hear how (if) we tie this in to the influence consumers have on firms. What role do “better” consumers have in making firms “better” and do you see this as a deliberate process on the part of the better consumers?
That’s an interesting question. Being “better” has a lot of meanings to me, but it does, at its root, involve more deliberation, so yes, a deliberate process. Lots of people are working on these sorts of issues, of course. Brian Wansink has that excellent book “Mindless Eating” that gives strategies for being more deliberate and thoughtful about what and how we eat. I was thinking something like that, but for consumption more generally. Of course, that requires changing habits, which is always difficult. But if more consumers did more deliberation, maybe some in advance and some in store, then habits could change. And changing habits would require a reaction from firms, I think.
June I’m looking forward to reading more.
Thinking of “better” consumers I was wondering what the role of better consumers are in making firms better? Do you see this as necessarily a deliberate process from the consumers?