Marketing Manipulation Case Study
Why should we care about Christmas marketing manipulation? I don’t know about you, but my family’s Santa Claus disappeared on the day my oldest son was born. I don’t know if he is in jail, or is just stuck in a pub, drinking beer, but I have been performing his duties for 10 years now, so this topic is of high interest for me, since I have to deal with the toys’ industry.As long as your kids still believe in Santa Claus, he is in charge and he is to blame if he doesn’t bring the toys indicated in your children’s letters. On the other hand, when you officially assume his role, all their demands come to you, and you become the helpless victim of the toys’ industry.
The toys’ producers not only expose your kids to aggressive advertising on all the cartoon channels but use a very effective marketing manipulation tactic to double their profits and avoid their sales’ dropping in January. When I saw this method described in Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion”, I was simply astonished. I recognized my self as being the victim of this marketing manipulation method for many years.
What is all about? What is this Santa Claus’s marketing manipulation trap and how it works? Let’s see.
The toys’ producers choose their best toys and several alternatives for them. They start an intensive marketing campaign for their targeted products on all cartoon channels, so your kids desperately want this toy for Christmas. In my case, last year it was an electric helicopter.
The toy’s producers provide an insufficient amount of targeted toys to the retailers, so they will end soon and most of the daddies won’t find any of these in stores when they go to buy the required presents for their offspring. What will they do? They will buy the alternative products because Christmas is coming and they can’t afford to come back home without presents.
In January, they resume the marketing campaigns for the targeted products and send plenty of them in stores, so your children will start screaming and begging, “Daddy, look, the helicopter you promised to buy for me! Please, daddy, you promised!”
And bang, the marketing manipulation trap is closed! You’ve promised, so you can’t go back without breaking the promises’ rule and you’ve worked so hard to teach your child the importance of keeping promises. More so, you have to defend your integrity image as a role model, though it works against your budget in this case. You have no other alternative than to go back to the store and buy that damn helicopter.
The toys’ manufacturers have just used a wise marketing manipulation tactic and made you buy two toys instead of one, so they doubled their profits and avoided having low sales after Christmas.
How can you avoid this marketing manipulation trap, know that you know its mechanism?
- Keep your kids believing in Santa Claus as long as possible. If he brings other toys that those requested in the letter, it means the child misbehaved during the year and Santa knows what he is doing. You didn’t promise anything and he can’t ask Santa to come back in January with the helicopter.
- There is a reason for writing this article in November. If you have already assumed the role of Santa Claus, learn your lesson, prevent yourself from promising to buy a specific present, but take note of your child’s wish and try to buy it before it disappears from the store. If the stores have already run out of it, at least you haven’t promised to buy it. This way, you’ll buy one present, not two.
I’m working hard to finish a book that discloses many secrets of professional manipulators until the end of this month, so make your self a favor and write it on your Christmas list. There are a lot of manipulative traps like the one I’ve just described above. They are all around us, and knowledge is your first defense against them. Till then, if you are eager to learn more about the mechanisms of influence, I highly recommend the book I’ve told you about, “Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion”, by Robert Cialdini. He goes really deep into the principles of manipulation, so I consider it a mandatory book, not only for those working in sales, but for all of us, because we all are highly exposed to manipulation nowadays, and need to defend ourselves.