The Road AheadCaveat Emptor! [Archives:2003/632/Business & Economy]

April 21 2003

Raidan Al-Saqqaf

'Caveat Emptor' is a Latin expression; it means let the buyer beware. This ancient rule of commercial law, traceable to Roman times and even earlier, implies that every buyer must examine and judge a product before buying it, otherwise the seller would not be held responsible after closing the sale.
However, The complex and advanced nature of today's products doesn't help customers to know enough of the product, they need to know more than the basic features and warranty be informed about the product by the seller, this information can be communicated to the target through means of advertising, publicity or sales promotion that, nevertheless, can be misleading.
Marketers nowadays exploit the fact the human beings are not totally rational, and that emotions affect them to a great extent. So they exploit the power of words to heighten their emotions “If you can get them crying, you can get them buying”, and in turn misleading them from the original purpose of the product. For example why do babies that appear in diapers advertisements have to be so cute? It is because the more cute the baby is, the more cute and favorable that brand becomes, and the faster it moves off the shelves, even if the brand laying next to it was better yet less expensive.
You can also see how women are being systematically targeted and their say in the purchase decision making is being promoted, that is because they are more emotional and easier to mislead; when my wife went birthday shopping for me last year, just as soon as she told the salesperson it was a birthday gift, the salesperson started exploiting her under the guise of love and caring; how long we have been together and how much I mean to her. To show how much she appreciates me, she ended up buying me a suit instead of a tie, thanks to that salesperson!
The process of marketing starts from knowing what customers want, to making customers buy what the marketers thought customers wanted. This results in the many trends, fashions, variety and complexity of today's products, and using marketing to make customers to buy as much as possible, and profit out of that.
Smart customers do not fall prey so easily for that, they know what they want and buy that, they do not allow marketers to expose them to media advertisements and sales promotion to mess up their minds and budgets through buying more, buying products they don't even need. The tough competition in today's market, makes marketers strive to sell, using whatever means possible, even if it included exploiting your emotions, after all, it's just marketing, so beware.
Endnote: Plan what you want to buy, and don't listen too much to markers, their main concern is to make sure that money in your pocket gets out of there.