Thursday, 30 September 2010

Feeling jaded - short note on marketing tricks against consumers

Are you interested, just as I am, in consumer behavior research? If yes, have you noticed that since you started reading all the literature available on this subject, you started paying more attention to your surroundings? Did you also start to see (more or less) clever marketing practices in certain, previously seemingly innocent, situations?

A Dutch chain of luxurious malls organizes this special 3-days-long event every year, during which their clients may buy various products (from food to scooters) with (more or less significant discount. This year, they went overboard advertising this event. They were day and night talking about it on Twitter and Facebook. They organized special contests to encourage consumers to constantly follow them via social media and to be sure that consumers will be prepared and informed about all profitable bargains they could make during this event. Today was the first day of this event. What happened? It seems that marketing worked too well and as the shop representatives are saying 'they didn't expect to have as many clients'. Result: online shop was down, in shops themselves the most popular items were sold out within half an hour.

That's the official story, at least. My jaded mind suggests another solution: gear up consumers for purchase of various products by offering them discounts, incite that intention by constantly reminding them about that opportunity and then stock the stores short and block the online website, so that consumers don't get to buy what they intended. Apologize for it. Potential benefit: consumers want that good now, they made their decision to buy - it's quite likely they will continue with the purchase after the price returns to 'normal'.

This reminds me about certain articles I've read recently on the blog The Siutationist. Adam Benforado wrote a short article 'Breaking Up Is Easy to Do: When Corporations Dump Consumers'. In this article he argues that while corporations constantly refer to the rational consumer who is able to make his own, free choices, at the same time they refuse to provide services or goods to anyone who is actually rational and does not fall for their tricks. He mentions how it became a good marketing practice to actually ban consumers that see through all the marketing tricks and to work on decreasing price transparency instead of increasing it. Tamara Piety commented on that article by giving further examples of unclear/unfair marketing practices as far as rebates are concerned: 'Tamara Piety on Market Manipulation'.

It helps to know I'm not the only jaded one out there.

No comments:

Post a Comment