This is a guest post from Lynn Brem, who writes one of my favorite sites, Take Back Your Brain! TBYB! is all about advertising to yourself, about using marketing tools to help meet your goals.
Persuasive messages are all around us. In fact, Adbusters estimates that we're exposed to as many as 5000 marketing messages every day. They're embedded in news, entertainment, information, transportation — even in our food and clothing. Several properties are shared by the messages in this advertising tsunami:
- All of them are about someone else's agenda.
- Someone put a lot of thought into how they will influence you
- You're exposed to the same messages many, many times.
- Most of them include pictures.
Personal marketing is based on a simple idea: We can borrow the techniques that commercial marketers use to shape our behavior, and use them to influence ourselves instead. Personal marketing combines the classic strategies and tactics of commercial marketing with the power that personal technology provides individuals to create and deliver media, and uses them to include our own ads in the flood of persuasive messages that surrounds us every day.
One strategy that I've found especially effective is repetitive exposure to images. This is actually a great way to motivate yourself to save money. Let's say you want to save for a specific item. Here's how to use personal marketing to save:
- Find out exactly how much money you need to reach your goal.
- Designate an envelope for saving the money, and write the amount of your target sum on the outside.
- Find a picture of your item in a magazine or online, or take the photo yourself.
- Cut the picture to the right size and fasten it to the envelope with tape or glue.
- Commit to a definite schedule for adding money to the envelope, like $10 a week or $50 every time you get paid. Write that commitment on the envelope too.
- Feed your envelope according to schedule.
Each time you add money to the envelope, you'll see the picture of the item you want, setting up a positive feedback loop which also feeds your desire. If you want to supercharge this method, take (or photoshop) a picture of yourself with the thing you're saving for, so it looks like you already have it.
Take Back Your Brain! teaches you how to advertise to yourself using simple techniques like the envelope ad described above. GRS readers are invited to submit questions to our free advice column, Dear Brain, to receive ideas about how you might use personal marketing to support a specific goal you really want to accomplish — about personal finance or anything else.
J.D.'s note: I love Take Back Your Brain! The idea of advertising to yourself is brilliant. It's not far removed from the success movement's use of affirmations, but it takes it a step further by actually using powerful marketing techniques.