The Scarcity Principle of Persuasion- How it Influences You

The Scarcity Principle of Persuasion

The power of Persuasion plays a considerable role in the marketing industry. Persuasion in marketing isn’t always readily apparent, so sometimes, consumers don’t even realize that they are being manipulated through the power of persuasion. Marketing typically has the ultimate goal of persuading people in some way or another.

According to Robert Caldini, there are six principles of persuasive marketing:

  1. Reciprocity- People feel obliged to give back to others when others have given to them.
  2. Scarcity- People want what they can’t have.
  3. Authority (credibility)- People follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.
  4. Consistency (commitment)- People like to be consistent with the things they do.
  5. Liking- People prefer to say yes to those that they like.
  6. Consensus (social proof)- People tend to do what (they think) others do.

Chances are, you’ve been fooled by this trickery once or twice before, I know I sure have. This deceptive yet persuasive marketing technique just manipulated you into purchasing that item at that very moment, even if you weren’t planning to make the purchase immediately. This technique is called scarcity persuasion and guess what? Yep! That’s right, its highly unlikely that Amazon only has three of that item left in stock. However, it is likely that Amazon only has three of that item left in stock for sale at that particular price. It could very well be that they have the product available for just a dollar more, or some other very slight difference. But they are capitalizing on that minimal difference to persuade you into making a purchase by presenting you with that above deceptive message making the product appear to be scarce. This tactic is triggering your desire to have the item only because it might not be readily available to you the next time you look to purchase it because of its short supply.

You see, people typically want what they can’t have. As a result of this desire, consumers often fall for the persuasive tactics demonstrated above. When consumers think an item is going to go out of stock because of short supply, is only available or on sale for a limited time, is in high demand, or is a unique product, they are more motivated to make the purchase. Many industries use the scarcity tactic to persuade consumers to make a purchase including airlines who use this tactic by displaying a message stating that there are only a few seats available on a flight because it rushes you into making the purchase for fear that those seats won’t be available at a later time. Restaurants use this persuasive tactic when they launch a limited-time menu item, same for clothing stores which promote a limited style or print.

As a marketer, I understand the concepts, principles, and practices of persuasion and am capable of implementing them when appropriate to meet our overall marketing goals. If you have a service or product you would like to promote, book a consultation with me to discuss potential marketing strategies!

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