― Ralph Waldo Emerson
A couple years ago after having a rather heated discussion with a colleague, I developed a new, personal definition of marketing.
The colleague and I were discussing the results of a marketing campaign. The results were counter-intuitive and he simply did not believe them. Yet the campaign was set up correctly for a scientifically accurate result.
Our point of contention was marketing itself – what do we expect when we send marketing to people?
My own definition of marketing arising from that confrontation is: appealing to identity to affect behavior.
All marketing is an effort to make you do something. If you are buying a competitor’s product, I want you to buy mine instead. If you are buying my product, I want you to buy more of it. If you are buying as much of my product as humanly possible, I will try to reward you so that you continue this behavior. Rewarding you may cost money, but I’m ultimately trying to prevent you from ceasing use of my product.
Marketing does not use direct force, so I must persuade you to do something through various appeals. I think identity can be found in most choices, except possibly for the desperately poor where identity is overridden by true need.
Marketing then is not simply a force to sell consumer products but a force used to sell you on anything from an idea to a person to a product. Marketing, like gravity, existed before it was named. It may be useful for everyone to understand marketing since it is such a prevalent force in our lives.
In your horoscope, you have ten planets (includes moon and Pluto) in 12 signs. Those 12 signs have geometric relationships to each other called aspects. Aspects of common focus include those considered harmonious (60-degree sextile, 120-degree trine) and those considered tense (90-degree square, 180-degree opposition). Conjunctions (0 degrees) are a bit up in the air; I suppose it depends on the planets attached.
When you hear that squares and oppositions are bad (from those ancient astrologers), you hope your own personal astrologer finds none in your chart. Yet without aspects that create friction, you find a certain lassitude or lack of drive.
The aspects, especially the frictions, are what drive us to do things like get off the couch, make dinner, paint a picture, start a business or run for president. Mars is the planet of that drive and a friction to Mars increases the need to accomplish something.
While watching a civil rights documentary several years back, I realized the fully open opposition to African Americans sharing schools with white Americans increased the resistance since it was so open. Astrologically, that is represented by the opposition aspects (180-degrees).
Today’s more subtle forms of racism are more difficult to oppose and resist because they first need to come out in into the open. In that way, they are more like an astrological square in that they create tension that is difficult to resolve because your opponent is somewhat hidden. The opponent is behind the wall, far away in an office, an economic policy or hiding in a cultural definition.
Marketing is like the astrological aspects. The more harmonious aspects are what might be termed in marketing as affinity. You find something you like and create a habit that lasts a long time.
The squares create the need to change an aspect of yourself that is unpleasant to others – bad breath, wrinkles, hair loss, acne, excess weight, working class clothes, personality clashes, letting others merge onto the freeway and tailing in the fast lane – that kind of thing. I’d say a great portion of marketing involves squares.
Oppositions aren’t usually solved by product marketing but by political marketing. Greece, for example, has a new, charismatic leader who is taking on the entire leadership of the Eurozone. There are many, fine, examples of oppositions occurring in this situation. Astrologically, oppositions seek balance since the opposing signs (such as Aries and Libra) contain the seeds of each other. Aries assertion of self can be inadvertently destructive without realizing the “other” that Libra represents. Libra other-focus can lose the sense of self through desire to mate.
Now let’s apply this to a shopping choice.
Let’s say you are in the toothpaste aisle (in the US) facing our two major brands – Crest (blue label) and Colgate (red label). Which do you pick and why? Does one taste better to you? With only two brands, is there really a choice (you can ask this of US politics as well)? Do you think about pleasing your dentist on the next visit? Is this just a habit and you can’t tell me what toothpaste you truly use? Why do you brush your teeth anyway? Do you really need fluoride in your toothpaste when it’s already in your water?
Picking toothpaste can represent sextiles (habit), trines (affinity), squares (social pressure) or oppositions (your mom is making you brush your teeth).
To read all about aspects, check out Café Astrology which, as usual, has a nice, clear write up of the aspects.