Remember Cabbage Patch Kids, or Furbies or Tekno the Robotic Puppy? These were all extremely popular kids toys that sold out at Christmas time. It was panic in the aisles for parents worldwide. And the toy companies made millions! When something turns into a thing that everyone wants and suddenly there isn’t enough of that thing to go around, it turns into a course of action called Scarcity Marketing. Scarcity marketing is a type of marketing technique that is based on the principle that people want something that is difficult to get. The technique includes product, promotion, pricing and distribution strategies. And… scarcity marketing works. It is the old theory that people always want what they can’t have because they think the grass is greener on the other side.
Many businesses use scarcity marketing, especially in their email division. The following are a few examples and ideas on how you can use scarcity marketing to increase your return on investment with well written emails and Facebook ads.
Based upon the idea that if a product is not available when someone wants it, it will be that much more valuable to them. You can see this idea in any nursery school playroom. One child is playing with a teddy bear and another child is playing with a toy truck. A mother coos at the child with the teddy bear and suddenly the child with the truck wants the bear. Child drops truck, crawls over to the child with bear, a struggle ensues and two children begin to cry. The inability to get what you want causes you to desire it that much more. This also works in marketing. You see the technique used with giving discounts on certain items for a set number of hours. It is urgent to get to the dealership on a certain day or the inventory will be gone.The urgency of the deal is what motivates people to respond. Discounts are great and well worth the trouble, but the fact that a person can not have that discount forever, makes them react.
You don’t always have to lower the price on goods or services for the scarcity technique to work. If you spin the situation to be “exclusive”, “for members” or “today only”, then the need of getting to the items is that much stronger. No matter what the item is or its quality, if it is hard to find, get to or buy, the item suddenly has positive qualities and this justifies the wish to have it. Often times, the thought of losing something will play a big part in decision making. Black Friday is probably the greatest example of scarcity marketing! The fear of missing out on something great will drive people to buy things impulsively.