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Aspiration Manipulation

Aspirations for a better body sell exercise machines, gym memberships and diet books. Aspirations for higher education and higher pay are the reasons that we continually see commercials for the University of Phoenix and other online courses. By knowing what we want, marketers are able to manipulate our aspirations and sell us anything from spray paint for balding heads to Viagra.And in looking at these products, there’s no surprise that if a need exists then there will be a product to fill it. But in reality what sells these products is often a deeper, more hidden aspiration. Baldness cures don’t simply promise to make us look younger, and Viagra doesn’t simply promise vitality; both of these products appeal to a more primal desire: self-image. What these products actually promise middle-aged men is that they will look and behave like younger men; that they will reclaim the time they feel they have lost.

What often eludes us is that marketers know more about our aspirations than we do. They know that gym membership deals in January appeal to the post-holiday guilt over our winter gluttony. This guilt drives a drastic membership influx every year. What they also know is that often our aspirations are far beyond our actual determination. Of the gym memberships sold what percentage will never be used? What percentage will be used infrequently? What percentage of these new members will try for a few months and then give up? And perhaps most importantly, what percentage will buy another membership next January with the self-made promise that they are going to “do it this time?”

Aspiration marketing relies on promise, but a promise that does not promote growth.

Concepts & Ideas from
Start with Why by Simon Sinek