The Value of Creating Scarcity

Marketing Organizational Culture Strategy

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“Wow, this beach is amazing. Dad, look at these awesome shells. And this one. And this one. Let’s make a collection.”

This was my daughter, being blown away at the beauty of the water, beach and shells along the shore on our trip to Mexico. This went on for about an hour or so. Then it stopped. And she never mentioned it for the rest of the trip.

Even when my wife and I would remind her of the beauty and the opportunity to be at the beach – she didn’t really care. She was smart enough to give us lip service gratitude but her natural enthusiasm had faded. Why?

There was such an abundance that the lustre and newness of it wore off. It stopped triggering the initial emotions.

Scarcity creates emotion. Abundance and familiarity breeds contempt.

I can’t reiterate this point enough for leaders and marketers. The principles of your value proposition should remain but how you deliver the experience of it should change.

For example, Christmas and the anticipation of it is great. But it’s only special because it doesn’t last. It’s one day. The same is true for your birthday. If it was your birthday everyday, no one (even you) would be excited for it.

A marketer needs to create scarcity. A limited edition package. A menu that’s only available for the Fall season. New decor for the office environment. Pricing and an opportunity that’s only available within a specific window. A one-time-only event.

This strategy gives you something to talk about it. To promote and train your customers and consumers to buy immediately because it won’t last. More importantly and often overlooked is that you and your staff can’t keep it up either.

Incorporating variety and freshness for your employees keeps them sharp and engaged. This goes a long way toward cultivating a great customer experience and employee retention.

Retail is the king of this strategy but it also works for professional service firms where your availability is not unlimited. You only have so much time and if they want you, they need to act quickly. Only be available on certain days and time to create demand. A friend of ours is a psychologist that is only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays – and she’s booked 3 months in advance. Do you think her patients think twice about cancelling a session or paying a little more than the average to get her? You bet.

Take a look at your business and calendar. Where could you incorporate scarcity? What part of your business needs to be freshened up and changed? How can you create excitement for a limited time? Urgency is a great trigger for decision-making which is the ultimate objective for every marketer. And scarcity is one of most powerful tools you can use to create urgency.