I have always seen elegance in the art of subtle deception, in the little white lies we tell to look good, in the half-truths we embrace, and in the bluffs, we dare others to call us on. Sure, some qualify these manipulations as immoral, but they are certainly not punishable by any law. Entrepreneurs, who are humans after all, are aware of, and take advantage of ethics’ blurred boundaries. Some say dishonesty. I ask, is re-shaping human responses harmful when customers are thrilled with their purchase? Drawing on this, here are five bluff marketing techniques sellers employ, and customers love to fall for:
5. Artificial scarcity
When a product sells out, it looks highly in demand. In reality, companies willingly under-supply their demand to drive up sales, prices, and to generate free press. Now before queuing on the next release date ask yourselves: “is the price justified?”.
4. Impact words
Inspired by politicians’ mastery of “talking without saying anything”, salespeople bring you “impact words”. Experiments proved that words such as: you, free, instantly, because, new, now, introducing, improvement, quick and easy – trigger neurological responses ensuring a 94% purchase rate.
3. High value giveaways
Introducing the 40/40/20 rule, which states that an effective direct marketing campaign is 40% list (audience), 40% offer and 20% creativity (communication). Let’s focus on the offer side of the equation. One interesting type of offer for entrepreneurs is high value giveaways, especially if they are running crowdfunding campaigns. A year ago, I was online looking for a customized phone case. The prices were relatively similar, but this one start-up offered a free mobile Bluetooth speaker for every purchase. Needless to tell you where I ended up ordering from!
2. Time limited sales
Flash sales and deep discounts “for a limited time only” seem irresistible. They make us feel fortunate to be chosen. Every purchase is a bargain. We are saving money. True, but to “save” a lot of money, you must pay a lot of money.
1. Sensorial teasing
It is time to stimulate senses, tap into the unconscious and let emotions lead. Sensory effects affect the deepest parts of our brains, powerfully and subtly, diminishing resistance impulses. Carnivals are the perfect example. Nobody spends too much money on suspicious food and stuffed toys. However, when we add to the scenery shots, dings, mixed smells, bright lights, loud colours, moving objects, controlled chaos and temptation, we have a carnival. An experience larger than life overcoming budget restrictions, and inciting us to spend euphorically.