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Sunday, October 28, 2012

As the news of a pending tropical storm unfolds, it reminds me of the fact that good marketing lessons can be found just about anywhere.  Living in the supposed path of this soon to hit storm, I've noticed the frenzy of activity from the community around me.  And they're buying stuff... lots of stuff!  Batteries, flashlights, generators, food, and who know what.  

From a marketing perspective it reinforces the power of creating urgency in your marketing message.  I would argue that individuals who are fearful will buy whatever they can find to help mitigate their fear and anxiety without particular interest in brand or cost.  Talk about an ideal situation for sellers!  Some retailers are responding appropriately to this opportunity - making important products easy to find for consumers.  Home depot for example placed batteries, flashlights, and bottled water at designated kiosks near the front of the store.  

The question I have for you this week is how you can create a similar sense of urgency among your prospects and customers.  "Only 3 left!"  or "On sale today only!" are just two examples of creating urgency.  However, you can intensify this effect by building a story of anticipation.  This is what Internet marketers do well.  They communicate in advance of their messages which focus on scarcity.  If you take the time to build anticipation and limit the opportunity to make a purchase, you can dramatically improve sales and not have to compromise on price.

I recently saw this done well with the launch of a new Internet marketing product.  For weeks leading up to the release, the company published videos, interviews with industry experts, data and infographics to show the importance of what was to come.  When the doors were finally opened, people were virtually stepping over each other trying to get the limited supply of software available.

Not only did this marketer "sell out" of available inventory, but he created a habit of scarcity among his potential audience.  What do you think is going to happen the next time he has a product launch?  You guessed it, people will jump on the bandwagon even sooner.  

Consider how scarcity and urgency can motivate your consumers.  Whether you run a one-day sale once a year or introduce new products in a limited way, you can certainly learn from the frenzy around tropical storms.  I know it sounds crazy but the reality is that you can learn valuable marketing lessons from anyone - even mother nature.


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