As a marketer, you don’t think in terms of scarcity.
It goes against almost everything you have been taught in direct sales and communication with consumers.
You want to be everywhere, do everything, present as much as you can so you can get the best results possible with your business.
But there is a scarcity principle that will work for your business, and the psychological implications behind it are powerful.
Just as you don’t prefer your products being scarce online, your audience doesn’t either. Let me explain the power behind this principle.
The Psychology of Scarcity
Robert Cialdini wrote The Psychology of Persuasion that talks about influence and he gives six principles that follow this well sought after characteristic.
#6 on the list was the Scarcity Principle.
Let me describe this through a story I found called the Cookie Jar Experiment.
A couple of researchers put two jars in front of a controlled group of people. One jar consisted of 10 cookies. The other jar had only 2 cookies.
The group was asked which jar they would rather have, the one with ten cookies, or the one with two cookies.
Surprisingly, the group chose the jar with only two cookies because they felt there was some connection to value with this jar.
In 1985, the Coca-Cola Company made their infamous switch from their traditional formula to the sweeter formula “New Coke.” Their taste tests indicated that 55% preferred the new Coke over the old.
Most of those tests were blind, but some participants were told which formula was new and which was the original. Under those conditions, the preference for new Coke increased 6%.
What that 6% really meant was that when people know what it is they can’t have, their desire for it will shoot up. Later, when the company replaced the traditional recipe with the new one, it was the old Coke that people couldn’t have, and it became the favorite.
The Wants Of Your Customer
The best way to use the scarcity principle in your marketing is to understand what your audience wants and/or needs from you.
Granted, they’re not going to be scrambling for a product that isn’t personal to them, so it’s up to you to determine what this is.
Many brands can get this wrong because they don’t see the need for social media marketing strategies that include listening and communication with their audience.
When in truth, the fear of missing out is one of the most widely known strategies that marketers possess in their arsenal of tactics.
Using Scarcity For Marketing
Marketers and brands have found that when they limit something, people tend to want it more. It is the “risk vs reward” theory in play here.
The risk for wanting it is thought about less than the reward for receiving the product.
Therefore, it will be worthwhile to switch your advertising campaigns message from how it can benefit the consumer, to emphasizing the potential for an opportunity that could be wasted for them.
They want to feel special and be a part of something that you’re only giving to a few.
Take the powerful email list for instance. I have found that using emails that can create responsiveness for your audience will show them the urgency required to take action right away.
Not only does this help your sales, it also enhances the experience of your brand with your customer because you are now giving them an opportunity to receive something that no one else is getting at that moment.
Over To You
What are some ideas that you have where you can build a great marketing strategy using scarcity?
Do you have some experience in using scarcity that you would like to share with the rest of our readers? I would love to hear about them!