I have a confession. I can watch shopping channels for hours on end.
It’s not what you think. I haven’t bought anything from a TV shopping channel. I do, however, find they make fascinating viewing. And if you take a step back from what they are saying, the techniques they use to peddle their wares can be very entertaining!
The techniques can also be really useful for selling to yourself! Perhaps selling the vision of your savings goals or to keep you on track.
Here’s five selling ideas and how you can use them for good not evil!
1) Use a calendar event
The best marketers often frame their offers in the context of a specific calendar event. The most obvious event is of course Christmas and the new year sales. By associating their marketing with such an event they can ride on the energy of the event and more easily get into the heads of consumers. Christmas is a big example but there are countless others. Have you ever bought anything to “get ready for summer”, or for “back to school”? How about Halloween or valentines day?
When it comes to saving your pennies, using a calendar date can be really helpful too. Firstly it gives you a deadline. For example by saying “I will be driving a new car before Christmas” or “I will be going on an amazing summer holiday in June” you will find it much easier to start saving. Secondly like the big marketers, you can ride on the enthusiasm and energy of a specific event to keep you motivated -it really does making saving ‘fun’ when you have a clear goal in sight.
2) Have a Vision
On the biggest ‘tricks’ of marketers is selling a vision. In the classic world of ‘infomercials’ the ‘vision’ starts really glumy before giving you a solution. This montage of infomercial ‘problems’shows this perfectly:
Having a ‘vision’ of how you want your life to be in the future is great for maintaining focus on saving too (although of course for most people its better to focus on making positive visions come true rather than saving to avoid a less fortunate fate (although if that works for you, then go for it).
Another brilliant trick of marketers is the idea of making things scarce. This can increase demand and give the product in question a more premium feel.
For example, just this last week the iPhone 4 was launched in the UK, leading to queues and sell-outs in shops around the country. Marketing scarcity can create a great buzz for the product and can makes the purchase more of an ‘event’ (see #1).
I actually stood in a queue for an iPhone 4 at the weekend in London, and it was a great atmosphere. Of course, it was my friend who was going to actually buy the phone!
You may not realise it but when it comes to saving, there’s a real scarsity too – time. There’s only so many days to save for the myriad of expenses that come up in life, most notably, weddings, houses and, ultimately, retirement. If you’re in your 20s you are in the best position to start saving for such long-term goals because of the power of compound interest. Everything you put into savings and investments before your 30th birthday has over 30 years to grow and compound.
Time is the most scare resource there is so you must take advantage of it, even if you just start small.
4) The Power of the List
Marketers are always talking about the size…of their list.
‘Lists’ are contact details of potential customers that marketers can sell things too. They can be immensely helpful for everyone involved -potential customers can sign up to the lists that matter to them and can hear about amazing deals before anyone else. It also saves time for the customer as they don’t have to trawl the Internet or the shops looking for that perfect item -they can opt-in to hear about exactly the kind of things they need or like to buy. Of course lists are brilliant for marketers too because they can sell directly to people who are interested in what they have to say so they are more likely to close the sale. (I have a list too!)
Similarly when it comes to saving money, the power is in the list. If you make a note of everything you want in life, both in the short, medium and long term it not only gives you time to reflect on your possible purchases, but it also actually means you can almost guarantee you’ll get what you want as you have a goal to work towards.
Having a list helps you avoid unncessary purchases and you get what you really want. Win Win.
The ‘list’ that works for me is actually a PowerPoint slide show of all the shiny gadgets and travel destinations I want to visit. I set it up last year and I’ve yet to buy anything or visit any of the places of the list but I’m certainly closer than I was as I have something to aim towards as I save for those shiny bikes, electronics, and trips of a lifetime.
5) Stick to What Works
When marketers hit on a particularly successful technique or campaign, what do they do?
Try something else?
Instead they do what works!
As an example, as a marketing research consultant I’ve worked with clients who use almost the same advertising campaign over and over again. And rather than resulting in ‘burn-out’, the campaigns have become more and more successful!
Similarly, Internet marketers often use the same marketing emails repeatedly and see sales come in like clockwork. Obviously there’s only so many times you can use a particular strategy but sticking with what works can be a brilliant marketing strategy that saves money and time. There’s no need to ‘reinvent the wheel’.
It’s just the same when it comes to saving and investing. If something is working, keep at it.
There is a danger for some who find themselves trying different ‘money hacks’ or different investment strategies all the time. We all have our own money quirks and habits and things that work for me might not work for you or yours for me. When you come across something that works for you, for example having a more ‘flexible’ budget rather than tracking every penny, by all means stick to it.
When it comes to money management, there is little black and white so when you find something that’s working for you, stick with it!
I hope these tips have been helpful for when you need to market to yourself. I’m writing this on Sunday night so now, if you excuse me, I’ve got some infomercials to watch before bed!
I’ve written about marketing to yourself before:
I’ve also made a ‘confession’ before too: