Buying is a decision-making process and marketers will go to great lengths to find ways to affect the outcome. They have devised ingenious techniques to influence that decision-making toward the direction that favors them. Make yourself aware of these strategies so that the next time you make that purchase, you are certain it was your conscious decision and not just a result of someone’s clever marketing tactics.
Perhaps the most common and effective marketing strategy are discounts. Who doesn’t get giddy and excited over that “SALE: 30% off” signage at a favorite store? The power of discounts is in creating an illusion that spending at a discounted price is saving. In reality, though, it is still spending.
Discounts usually last only for a very limited time to command a false sense of urgency to lead consumers to purchase now. These purchases usually end up as unnecessary and hurt the budget rather than add real value. How many times has a piece of item you bought on sale ended up rotting in the closet because you realize it is not really needed? Wallstreet Journal reveals the truth about the popular Black Friday sale as a “carefully engineered illusion” that, instead of giving consumers savings, lures them to spend.
Notice how the cashier at McDonald’s offers “Do you want medium or large drinks?” or “Would you like to add sundae for dessert?” That’s actually a marketing strategy called upselling, a method wherein a seller offers products to encourage additional purchase on top of what the buyer originally intends. You may have planned to skip the sugar by getting a regular sized drink and skipping dessert but that lovely lady at the counter gave a tempting offer at that very moment you are about to pay. More often than not, we tend to say, “The hell with sugar! Let’s get that drink and dessert.”
The influence of color in sales has long been the subject of several studies. It is said that colors affect purchase decisions and even about 90% of snap judgment on a product depends on the color alone. Some correlations identified between color and sales include the perceived appropriateness of a color to the product being sold, color as used in branding, color preferences by gender, and colors that lead customers to follow the seller’s call to action. Don’t you wonder why that “Buy Now” button is always red?
Also called psychological pricing, this method is based on the theory that certain prices have a “charming” effect to the buyer. It is said that if retail prices are expressed as “odd prices” – a little less than a round number – consumers tend to perceive them as slightly lower than it actually is. A $499 computer sounds way cheaper than a $500 one, as one tends to round the price to the lowest monetary unit (i.e. $400). But the truth is really just a $1 difference from $500.
Every time you are confronted with a decision to buy, remember these marketing tactics. These might just save you on your next purchase!