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More Decoys: Compromise Marketing

Why a logical product lineup may not be the most profitable
 

When marketers plan a company’s product offerings, they usually try to do so in the most logical way possible. Several levels of product may be offered – a stripped-down, basic version, a more capable better version, and perhaps a “best” version. These would normally be priced at quite different levels, probably based in part on the relative manufacturing costs of the products. In one of my most-read posts, Decoy Marketing, I described research that showed how a seemingly irrational pricing strategy, i.e., pricing an inferior product either the same or almost the same as a better one, could boost sales of the better product by making it look like a bargain. (In that case, the inferior product is the decoy.)

Now, let’s look at a different kind of decoy: a new high-end product that, even if it sells poorly, can boost sales of the next product in the lineup. Stanford Business describes how this can work: […]

By |December 3rd, 2008|

Precise Pricing Pays Off

In my time as a catalog marketer, I almost always priced products just below the next dollar increment – a cheap item might be $9.97 rather than $10, while a more expensive item may have been $499, or even $499.99, instead of $500. My strategy was based on a couple of assumptions. First, I thought that there was probably something desirable about offering, say, a “nine-dollar-and-change” price vs. a “ten-dollar” price, i.e., even though the difference was only a few pennies, some customers would perceive the $9.97 price to offer more substantial savings. Second, I observed that big marketers like Sears, who could afford to test any number of pricing options, tended to stick with the “just below the next increment” approach. As it turns out, I was right, but for the wrong reason. New research points us toward the reasons why consumers respond better to a $499 price vs. a $500 price, and it has more to do with the apparent precision of the odd number: […]

By |April 28th, 2008|

Get More for Your House with an Odd Price

I love research findings that run counter to intuition, or are at least unexpected, and the idea that you can get more for your house if you market it with an odd price is certainly unexpected. That’s what University […]

By |April 26th, 2008|

Placebos, Price, and Marketing

Hot on the heels of learning that more expensive wine tastes better, we find that more expensive placebos are more effective at controlling pain: […]

By |March 6th, 2008|

Why Expensive Wine Tastes Better

For Neuromarketing readers, it’s not big news that the perception of wine drinkers is altered by what they know about the wine (see Wine and the Spillover Effect, for example). Now, researchers at Stanford and Caltech have demonstrated that people’s brains experience more pleasure when they think they are drinking a $45 wine instead of a $5 bottle – even when it’s the same stuff. The important aspect of these findings is that people aren’t rationalizing on a survey, i.e., reporting that a wine tastes better because they know it’s a lot more expensive. Rather, they are actually experiencing a tastier wine. […]

By |January 16th, 2008|

How To Increase Customer Pain

Big companies often find great ways to aggravate their customers, and cell phone giant Sprint proves the point. John Wall of the Ronin Marketing blog posted a rant about Sprint’s advertising for their Centro Palm smartphone, Screw Your Customers. Wall was understandably miffed when he found out that the $99 advertised price for the phone applied only to new customers, and that as an existing four-phone Sprint customer, he would have to pay $250 for the Centro. Beyond exacting what appears to be a penalty for customer loyalty, Sprint has committed a second sin of the neuromarketing variety. […]

By |November 28th, 2007|

Five Keys to Selling to Tightwads

One out of four potential customers for your product may not buy it, even if the purchase makes economic sense or is otherwise a good decision. A couple of days ago, in Tightwads, Spendthrifts, and Everyone Else, I wrote about research that found people could be categorized by their spending behavior into three major groups. While the largest group, described as “unconflicted,” comprised 60% of the large sample of survey subjects, a quarter of the group were identified as “tightwads.” The latter group presents a unique marketing challenge because they will resist spending money even when the expense is reasonable and perhaps justified. How does a marketer not only make the case for her product, but get a tightwad to part with his money? Here are five tactics: […]

By |October 3rd, 2007|