If you hang out in Times Square in New York City, especially at night, it can feel like you’re always watching something. Pretty soon all your senses are overloaded with the endless electronic billboards. At some level this is the charm of being in Times Square but now, at least one marketing expert is claiming that as a marketing tool, this sensory overload just doesn’t work. Martin Lindstrom, among Time Magazine’s 100 of the world’s most influential people, says the brain can actually delete your marketing message if it’s not managed correctly. Strong word there – delete. Lindstrom, who has been peddling his book, “Buyology,” noted that during the Beijing Olympics, while Coca-Cola spent heavily to be a major sponsor, 60 percent of Chinese people thought Pepsi was the major sponsor. Ouch. What the brain likes, says Lindstrom is to experience your product. So rather than a Coke billboard flashing the words, “Refresh Yourself,” all day long, you should have Refresh Yourself parties around the world. Everybody likes parties. Rather than a logo which informs the brain that marketing is occurring, be more subliminal with say, the color red, or the smell of coffee. Lindstrom may or may not be on to something there but others are saying if you want people to want your stuff, you need to create scarcity. “Scarcity sells,” says Keith Monaghan, another marketing strategist. He cited the Knob Creek Bourbon producers (The Jim Beam folks), who posted copy informing customers that they would sell no bourbon before it was aged for nine years – the full nine years and nothing short of that. As such they would run out of bourbon to sell. Fans of the brand had no choice. They obsessed and then they presumably stocked up. Of course the strategy of scarcity may work better for small batch bourbon than for other beverages.
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