New things I love
I’ve been having a lot of conversations with friends about how our devices are definitely listening in on our conversations: it sounds like a Big Brother-esque conspiracy theory—and there are just too many weird “coincidences” these days.
I could understand it when a few years ago, we searched for kayaks online, and the next day there were kayaks in the ads down the side of my screen.
But when I hadn’t emailed, texted, posted about, or searched for something and had only talked about it with one friend, it’s a bit creepy that the item popped up in my ads, don’t you think?
I get it—businesses need to sell their products and services, and this is just the newest way to target us. And yet, there’s selling and there’s selling.
marketing that doesn’t move me
I’ve always had a funny relationship with print advertising: when I subscribed to Food + Wine, my kids would pore over the magazine, pretty much just reading the ads. Me? I read just the articles, was oblivious to the ads, and finally unsubscribed when the new design made it almost impossible to tell one from the other….
Mercifully, having grown up without a television and continued that tradition while my kids were young, we haven’t been exposed to too much TV advertising—definitely harder to ignore.
And growing up in Vermont, we didn’t even have billboards—stay that way, Vermont!
So it seems like advertising dollars are pretty much wasted on me.
If we’ve ever talked about business models before, you already know that nothing will send me screaming in the opposite direction faster than an MLM—a multi-level marketing scheme.
You probably know of at least one—think: essential oils, supplements, cosmetics, even some clothing. One person who sells them recruits others to sign up to sell “under” them, and so it goes, each person acting as part of a non-salaried workforce selling the company’s products/services and making commissions not only on what they sell but a percentage of what those “under” them sell as well.
All too often, these salespeople have a dangerous glint in their eye that says they have drunk the Kool-Aid, and it will be impossible to have a conversation with them that doesn’t somehow involve what they’re selling (and wouldn’t you like to “join their team?”)
I know plenty of people who are involved in MLMs and happily (if not always financially successfully) so. I always wonder when academia is finally going to start studying why coaches are particularly prone to participating in them….
Perhaps my aversion to these schemes is actually a deep-seated incompetence in sales: I’m the opposite of that person who could sell snow to the residents of the Arctic or sand to those who dwell in the desert.
I know that people love Amazon: it’s convenient, it’s inexpensive, it may be keeping the USPS afloat—and I just can’t make it my first choice for buying anything.
Maybe it’s that I live in Ann Arbor, and Amazon put Borders out of business. Maybe it’s that I don’t like to buy my food where I buy anything/everything else I could possibly need. Maybe it’s just that I root for the local indies.
Whatever it is, the Amazons and Walmarts and Costcos of the world don’t interest me.
marketing that works
I’ve been thinking about what does really make me consider buying a product or service, and here’s what I came up with:
- I am already looking for that product or service. (Yeah, I really do list “rules of engagement” on the contact page of my site; tragically, few people trying to sell me on their product/service/guest post bother to read them.)
- The company makes every effort to produce, package, and ship its products in a manner that is eco-friendly.
- I have heard people I personally know (and like and trust, i.e., not the hot celebrity du jour) recommend it as something they love.
- These people may or may not benefit from me making the purchase—sometimes they’re what’s known as an affiliate of a company because they earn a small percentage on a sale by sending people to a specific link to buy—and they don’t keep checking back with me to find out what I’ve decided. And they definitely don’t ask me to “join their team!”
make the connection
What does this have to do with health coaching?
As a health coach, I’m really committed to helping people reach their health goals, and while this often involves lots of discussions about food and physical activity, we often dip into other topics, such as the health of their physical environment—both in the home and on the planet.
I took about 10 years to gradually shift my family to a diet of whole (preferably SOLE) foods, cooked from scratch because they are better for our health, better for the environment, and better for the local economy.
In recent years, I’ve slowly made a shift to more sustainable clothing—more natural/organic fibers, more transparent and ethical sourcing and production, more second-hand choices.
And this year, I’m focusing on reducing the presence of single-use plastics in my home, particularly in the areas of body care products, cleaning products, housewares like toilet paper and paper towels (which always seem to come wrapped in way too much plastic), and food purchasing and storage options.
So if you, like me, prefer to purchase products you’ve heard about from people you like who have used them, I offer you my list of “new things I love” that are helping me be nicer to Mother Nature. They do require shipping, but they use recyclable or biodegradable packaging, and some offer a subscription-style service.
- Plaine Products: environmentally friendly body care products that come in returnable/reusable containers. When you’re done, move the pump to a new bottle, rinse and return the old one.
- Net Zero Company: eco-friendly sustainable products for shopping and food storage among other things.
- The Grove Collaborative: eco-friendly cleaning products and more. While their products are not entirely plastic-free, they offer concentrates in smaller packages that you dilute in glass spray bottles. The hunt for an even better option continues.
- Reel: 100% bamboo toilet paper.
Hmmm. Maybe I need to become an affiliate….
Leave a comment and let me know what companies and products you love that are helping you be kinder to yourself and Mother Nature.