Even the most diligent and ethical market players will use every trick in the book to gain an advantage over their competitors. In their pursuit of success, many companies will adopt underhanded tactics to manipulate the market for their own benefit. Unfortunately, insider trading, bribery, secret price fixing agreements and other unfair business practices are all too common — especially in industries with a high level of trust between market players, such as the medical industry.
But what you may not know is that there are many different strategies you can use as an individual or organization to manipulate your target market. These tips will give you a leg up on the competition by allowing you to influence your target audience in ways they won’t expect.
When it comes to market manipulation, the most important thing to understand is that it’s not just one single tactic. Instead, it’s a collection of strategies, tactics and practices that are used to artificially create demand for a product or service. The ultimate goal of this type of marketing is to increase sales and profit, regardless of customer satisfaction. There are five key aspects of marketing that can be manipulated for increased sales. These are product, price, place, promotion and customer experience.
Some companies may focus on just one or two mechanisms for boosting sales, while others may use all five. When it comes to product, marketers can manipulate unmet needs and desires in the customer, alongside the product features and benefits. As for price, some companies use psychological pricing to influence customers.
This can be done either by adding a few extra dollars to the price or by rounding it down. When it comes to place, marketers can use online and offline channels, as well as the product packaging, to increase sales and profit. As for promotion, there are a number of ways to boost sales, such as public relations, direct marketing and advertising.
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If you want to steer your prospects in a certain direction, you need to understand how the human mind works. Marketers who truly understand psychology can use a number of cues to influence their customers, such as:
- A sense of urgency or FOMO (fear of missing out) can cause people to buy impulsively. You can tap into this reaction by putting a time limit on your sales, adding a sense of urgency or dangling the promise of a limited-time bonus. - Scarcity works in many ways and on multiple levels. You can use it to create urgency, as well as to increase the perceived value of your product or service.
Some examples of utilizing scarcity in marketing include: - People tend to overvalue what they can’t have. If you’re running an e-commerce store, you can use artificial scarcity to make your products appear more valuable and desirable. This can be done by limiting the number of items for sale and/or restricting sales to just one or two days. - People like to be consistent with their past decisions, so marketers can use this to steer them toward purchasing a certain product.
By advertising your product as superior to the competition, you can start a chain reaction that leads people to buy your item again — even if it isn’t necessarily better. - Marketers can use social status to their advantage by associating their product or brand with a particular type of lifestyle. You can do this by partnering with an influencer, hosting events or publishing content that links your product to a certain type of individual.
Many industries are prone to seasonal buying cycles, and this can create a false sense of scarcity that benefits sellers. If you sell products that are commonly purchased during specific times of the year — like outdoor gear or holiday decorations — you can boost sales by waiting as long as possible before putting them on the market. One way to do this is by waiting for the last few weeks of the previous year to release your products for the upcoming holiday season.
If you’re selling a product that isn’t season-sensitive, you can employ a similar tactic by waiting as long as possible before launching it. The longer you wait to launch your product, the more scarce it will seem to customers. This can cause a spike in demand, which can be advantageous to you if your product is in limited supply.
Since the advent of modern advertising, marketers have been using it to sell their products. They’ve also been using it to trick people into buying products they don’t want or need. They do this by creating bait and switch advertisements that make people think they need a particular product or service.
This can be done by: - Capitalizing on human emotions: People are often driven to make decisions based on their emotions, so marketers can use this to their advantage. By tapping into emotions, such as fear, anger or excitement, you can steer people toward your product.
- Associating your product with something more desirable: You can associate your product with a more desirable item by using a celebrity spokesperson or pitting it against a competitor. This will make people associate your product with something that’s desirable, which can sway them toward buying it. - Using misleading or exaggerated claims: Some advertising claims are just false, while others are exaggerated to the point of being misleading. Marketers can exaggerate the benefits of their product and make misleading claims about alternative products to steer people toward their item.
If you’re trying to maximize your product’s value, you might consider delaying its release. Waiting until there’s an event, trend or technology that’s in high demand can make the release of your product more valuable. This can be a particularly effective strategy if you’re selling a technology-related product, such as a new smartphone, computer or app. Timing your product release so that it takes advantage of a trend or event in the news is known as a newsworthy product launch.
This can help you generate an enormous amount of publicity as journalists cover your launch. By releasing your product when there’s a lot of attention on an event or trend, you can increase your product’s value. If a new technology has been released or there’s a highly publicized event in the news, this can make your product more desirable.
If you’re trying to manipulate your market, chances are you’ve already tried to make your product seem like a bargain. But if you’re not careful, you can make your product seem like a steal — which can backfire on you. One way to use price manipulation to your advantage is to round your price down. For example, if you’re selling a product for $299, you can round it down to $299 or $249 — or even $199.
This will make your product seem like it’s a bargain, even though you’re actually charging the same amount as other competitors. Alternately, you can round your price up to make it seem like a product is worth more than it actually is. Another way to use price manipulation is to use psychological pricing by adding a few extra dollars to your product.
For example, if you’re selling a product for $19.99, you can round it up to $20. Similarly, if you’re selling a product for $249, you can round down to $249.
There are often subtle ways to manipulate your customers without them realizing it. One way to do this is false advertising: blatantly lying about your product or service. False advertising is illegal, but that doesn’t stop some marketers from trying to mislead customers. At the very least, false advertising can hurt your brand’s reputation, which can be even more problematic.
To avoid false advertising, you should: - Be clear about what your product or service does. This means you can’t make false claims about your product’s features. You also can’t mislead customers about the price or availability of your product. - Be clear about who your product is for.