Coming from a background in marketing, it is obviously helpful to see what kinds of advertising tactics lead to more sales. More and more creative ideas are tried every day in an effort to sell more products.
Advertising is basically a way for a company to trick you into giving them your money. No matter what they say, the sole purpose of these gimmicks is to get into your wallet. By understanding some of the most common strategies that companies use, you will be able to make an informed decision about whether or not it’s really a good idea to buy something.
The 5 Most Common Tricks
Below is a list of ways you think you are benefitting and why that is not really the case.
- On Sale. This is the oldest and simplest trick in the book. If you look at it from the point of the retailer, they are just trying to sell more items for less money. This moves product and allows them to gain profit from bulk sales and make room for newer items that you will also hopefully buy. From the perspective of a buyer, the item you once couldn’t afford is now within reach. Don’t get me wrong, buying things on sale is great, but the problem comes when you buy something because it is on sale. The way to utilize sales correctly is to know which item you plan to buy anyways, and then wait until it goes on sale to pick it up. Another way to think of it is to ask, “Why are they ripping me off so bad in the first place?” I’ve bought things at 80% off, and not at a going out of business sale. This only makes me feel like that particular seller is price gouging his customers.
- Buy One Get One Free. Another variation of “on sale”. Smart consumers know that if something is on sale somewhere, you will always be able to find it elsewhere for the same price. This tactic increases the chances of a purchase because, well, you are buying one item and getting the other one free. What you need to realize is the fact that the first item is marked up to the point that you are basically paying for both, or receiving a minimal discount on each.If something is “buy one get one free”, do some comparison shopping first and you’ll likely find that item for less. If you decide that you both items, still do some research and see if you can’t find them at a better combined price.
- For A Limited Time Only. Car salesmen love this one. It’s on sale for a great price, but only if you buy it this weekend. This is almost an outright lie, especially when it comes to vehicles. If you can get it for a certain price today, you can always get it at that price. For other types of goods, you will be able to find it at the advertised sale price somewhere else, most likely online. So if you think you have to buy it now or miss out, don’t sweat it. You will be able to find the same deal somewhere else.
- Clearance. I like to think of clearance items as separate from sale items. I know plenty of people who will scoff at “on sale” signs, saying they are too smart to fall for them, but when they see the big red clearance rack they think, “This stuff is basically free!” Always remember to think about what you’re buying and why you’re buying it. Sure, I could get an amazing deal on 782 purple beach balls, but what’s the point?
- Newsletters. Newsletters are not inherently evil. They can be pretty useful at times. The way they can be deceiving is that they remind you every time a new product is released or updated. People will be wowed by fancy graphics and marketing hype and purchase something totally unnecessary that will sit in their closet for years before being given away or resold. They are almost like e-mail infomercials. They know that they have to make you buy it right then because if you think about it you won’t want it anymore.
If it wasn’t your idea to purchase it in the first place, you probably don’t need it.
Keep An Eye Out For Other Clever Tricks
I could go on and on explaining the ways you are being tricked into giving away your hard earned money for something you don’t really need or even want. These are just five of the most common ways it happens, and if you keep your eye out for them, you’ll find yourself with less junk and more money.
Use The 30 Day Rule
You’ve probably heard about the 30 day rule and other variations plenty of times. If you need a refresher, it basically says that if you see something and you want to by it, add it to a list and wait for 30 days. After 30 days, if you still want or need it, then go ahead and pick it up. This prevents you from making impulse decisions and spending money on something you’ll really never use.
Has there ever been a time where you realized you’d been duped into buying something you didn’t need? If you think this article might save you or someone you know money in the future, share it below.