Everything is fair in love, war and marketing?

34 replies
Ok, so I recently finished Robert cialdini's masterpiece "Influence." It was a fantastic read!
Throughout the read, one marketing technique really grasped my attention. It's called 'throwing a lowball'.

For those who are not familiar with it, here is how wiki defines lowball "The low-ball is a persuasion and selling technique in which an item or service is offered at a lower price than is actually intended to be charged, after which an excuse or "error" is brought in to increase the price at its original value."

Cialdini describes how 'throwing a lowball' technique is commonly used in car showrooms where a retailer first offers a lower price than usual to attract the customer. This is followed by allowing the customer to take a ride around and see how the car 'feels'.

When the deal gets finalized, an "error" is brought in, for example, the dealer says "We forgot to add the air conditioner charges." Or usually, all the financial proceedings are handed over to a bank who deal with the customer directly and thus reducing the chances of any reaction that customer might produce.

In a nut shell, a lower FAKE price (that is lower than all the competitors) is first quoted, and once the customer's decision stands on his legs, the original price is brought in.

My question is: Is lowball a fair marketing technique? What's the thin line between throwing a lowball and being dishonest? Personally, I don't find any. Rather, I view this as sophisticated scam. From day one, I have learned that a marketer job is to SELL. Period. Ok.

Sell by any means? Or sell by fair means?

Or maybe, just as the title says, everything is fair in love, war and marketing?
#fair #love #marketing #war
  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    I think he would appreciate it if you spelled his name correctly - Cialdini.
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    • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
      I don't know how many of those responding have actually read Cialdini, but the "low-ball" technique he describes exploits what psychologists call "commitment" on behalf of the prospect. Once an action has been decided on, the buyer is more "compliant" to carry out that action even if the eventual terms are changed, or are more than the terms initially revealed.

      Any marketer who's ever offered a "free" download to a prospect, only to then send them to a page requesting an email address before granting access has employed a version of this very technique.
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      • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
        Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

        I don't know how many of those responding have actually read Cialdini, but the "low-ball" technique he describes exploits what psychologists call "commitment" on behalf of the prospect. Once an action has been decided on, the buyer is more "compliant" to carry out that action even if the eventual terms are changed, or are more than the terms initially revealed.

        Any marketer who's ever offered a "free" download to a prospect, only to then send them to a page requesting an email address before granting access has employed a version of this very technique.
        Commitment and consistency are two great influencers in marketing. I agree. However, Cialdini has himself mentioned techniques to overcome these influencers. Although 'throwing a lowball' applies the commitment principle, it still is deceptive in its nature..and by no means can be regarded as fair marketing practice.
        -J
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        • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
          Originally Posted by Junaid khawaja View Post

          Although 'throwing a lowball' applies the commitment principle, it still is deceptive in its nature..and by no means can be regarded as fair marketing practice.
          -J
          You quoted my post before making the above comment, but I made no mention of fairness. I was illustrating how some internet marketers use a version of the principle of commitment that Cialdini described.

          Or were you just answering the question you posed in your OP?
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    Sell by any means? Or sell by fair means?
    You're the one who has to live with yourself.

    I find, people only resort to trickery when they can't do it any other way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by Junaid khawaja View Post

    My question is: Is lowball a fair marketing technique?
    Junaid,

    Do you really have to ask?

    You already said this technique was a scam. Who likes to be scammed?

    I have never seen a successful Internet marketer play this game.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

      Junaid,

      Do you really have to ask?
      Hi Steve, thanks for your great insight! I thought, maybe there is an explanation on the 'honesty' of throwing a lowball. Glad there isn't! Thanks, cheers!
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  • Tricks might get you some quick dollars but it is not a good way to build a business.

    Focus on adding value and providing clarity to your customers.
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by Marketing with Jacob View Post

      Tricks might get you some quick dollars but it is not a good way to build a business.

      Focus on adding value and providing clarity to your customers.
      Hi Jacob. But there ARE some good ethical tricks that can get you some good (and quick) dollars! And yes, who can turn down the significance of 'adding value'. Thanks!
      -J
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  • Profile picture of the author starkintern
    The second someone says "oh that price was in error" is the second someone has to own up to their mistake. Either they eat the loss or I walk.
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  • Profile picture of the author aizaku
    scamming is never good!

    that being said, marketing magic and trickery is a beautiful thing,

    my favorite example of this is Mike Geary and his product "Truth About Abs"

    he knew that fat isnt lost in one particular section of the body or with one type of exercise. it just doesnt exist

    both diet and strength training are required yet he didnt frame his pitch as the total weight loss plan.

    his focus was on the highest searched desired body part which was 6 pack abs.

    and he built his entire marketing campaign (not product) around that. When a customer buys the product he or she gets an entire fitness and diet manual that gets him or her into shape (ideally) the six pack is just a by-product.

    it still is an evergreen product. and at one point he was making a million a month while helping people achieve their goals
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by aizaku View Post

      scamming is never good!

      that being said, marketing magic and trickery is a beautiful thing,

      my favorite example of this is Mike Geary and his product "Truth About Abs"

      he knew that fat isnt lost in one particular section of the body or with one type of exercise. it just doesnt exist

      both diet and strength training are required yet he didnt frame his pitch as the total weight loss plan.

      his focus was on the highest searched desired body part which was 6 pack abs.

      and he built his entire marketing campaign (not product) around that. When a customer buys the product he or she gets an entire fitness and diet manual that gets him or her into shape (ideally) the six pack is just a by-product.

      it still is an evergreen product. and at one point he was making a million a month while helping people achieve their goals
      Hi Aizaku, nice input. Techniques and tricks are the weapons of marketers. They are the very things that make this subject so fascinating.
      -J
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      • Profile picture of the author aizaku
        Originally Posted by Junaid khawaja View Post

        Hi Aizaku, nice input. Techniques and tricks are the weapons of marketers. They are the very things that make this subject so fascinating.
        -J
        I know right, its like the guy who sells beds.

        he sells copy isnt "do you want a soft-ass bed?"

        his sells copy starts with what everybody wants "do you want deep, drool inducing sleep?"

        crafting that message is a beautiful thing....
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    • Profile picture of the author Ramus Le
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  • Profile picture of the author George Schwab
    Sell by any means? Or sell by fair means?

    Fair wins the game.

    What doesnt exclude funny headlines as long we understand its a joke:

    "Take the pill and go to sleep - wake up skinny"
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    • Profile picture of the author aizaku
      Originally Posted by George Schwab View Post

      What doesnt exclude funny headlines as long we understand its a joke:

      "Take the pill and go to sleep - wake up skinny"
      LOL

      winter time weight loss campaign

      "eat like santa - look like jesus!"

      -tim ferriss
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  • Profile picture of the author semalaia4n
    The both diet and strength training are required...
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  • Profile picture of the author semalaia4n
    Focus on adding the value and providing clarity to your customer...
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  • Profile picture of the author Rachel Scalise
    In any type of business online or otherwise you want to build a good reputation around yourself. This is not a technique that will give you a good reputation. The fastest way to leave a bad taste in someone's mouth about you is to tell them the price is higher than they expected.

    Instead, reverse the process. Sell them on the value of the product. Offer it for a higher price, then when they buy it, let them know they qualify for a discount and charge them the real price. This would leave them with a sense that you gave them a deal.
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    • Profile picture of the author Junaid khawaja
      Originally Posted by Rachel Scalise View Post

      In any type of business online or otherwise you want to build a good reputation around yourself. This is not a technique that will give you a good reputation. The fastest way to leave a bad taste in someone's mouth about you is to tell them the price is higher than they expected.

      Instead, reverse the process. Sell them on the value of the product. Offer it for a higher price, then when they buy it, let them know they qualify for a discount and charge them the real price. This would leave them with a sense that you gave them a deal.
      Rachel, I like your technique of 'qualifying my customers' for a discount AFTER they buy. Wouldn't that leave an ever-lasting impact on them! Cheers! Thanks
      -j
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi Junaid,

    Hmmmmm....when I withhold the truth from someone, I feel bad. Because I am manipulating them. Feeling bad catches up to me. Which pours over into my work. Which means, suckiness for me LOL.

    But when I tell the truth, I feel good. Because I'm clear. And good-feeling vibes spill into my work. Which means fun and freedom and living in paradise for me. I even have snapshots of Cyprus to verify

    Fear is funny; it sneaks into marketers minds, they obey the fear, and said marketers do stuff not because they are clear on their offering, but because they are terrified of losing a sale, and that fear-based delivery will lead to a series of bad, bad outcomes near or long term, or, both terms.

    I go in the opposite direction; I charge more than the other guy. I ADD to the common price. People will buy at a premium. Which is why I charge $9.99 for my eBooks. Who has my life story? Nobody on earth. Because I write and speak in my voice, and am clear on it. So folks respect that, and vibe with me, any pay $9.99 to learn how to travel all over the world for 5 years running while blogging, and I never had to cow tow to fear, to live this life and to inspire others.

    Doesn't that sound like a fun way to market?

    Gotta be clear on this approach, and of course, you must have faith in yourself and your offering, but it's SO much more fun to have posture than to chase, manipulate, withhold the truth, and to fear losing out on a sale.

    People will invest in the premium product and they'll generally get pissed with you lie to them. I know like 3 things about marketing, and this is one of them Charge more, raised the perceived value, and folks will spoil themselves with the premium, valuable product, and they'll sprint from the guy who's so afraid to lose a sale that he lies about the asking price. People love value. People hate liars. Charge more. So much more fun and your readers/customers will thank you for it, too.

    Signing off from sunny Cyprus.

    Ryan Biddulph
    Blogging From Paradise
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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    What an incredible sad commentary and just Unbelievable that Threads are now being started on asking whether it is okay or not to be deceptive and untruthful
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    What you are talking about in your post is basically illegal. Advertise a price and then when the time comes to close the sale you say oops. Good luck with that.

    On the other hand. Home builders use a similar technique that is legal. Say ABC Homes is building a new development. They place and ad in the local paper that homes are starting at $99,900.00 Model home open. You get to the model home for your tour and the home you are touring has all the upgrades and to get the same as the model it will cost you $159,900.00

    I am sure this technique could be applied to internet digital products.

    al
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    Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Using "tricks" in marketing, to me, suggests deception of the audience.

    I don't know a single person that likes to be deceived or confused, especially when it comes to getting tricked when they are putting their money on the line.

    Yes, there are marketing strategies that are built upon the principle of appealing to the prospect's emotions and psychological triggers. Such strategies are employed all the time by charities and phone solicitors to get people to donate "to the cause."

    But there is a difference between knowingly deceiving someone (tricks) and appealing to someone's inner emotions.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
    Banned
    The OP may be the most ridiculous thing I have read here in a long time.

    I hope you stole the book that you learned this technique in.

    Frank
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    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post


      I hope you stole the book that you learned this technique in.

      Frank
      C'mon Frank. Give them some credit. They probably purchased and then got a refund after they downloaded it

      al
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      Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?
      ~Jack Handey~

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      • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
        Banned
        Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

        C'mon Frank. Give them some credit. They probably purchased and then got a refund after they downloaded it

        al
        My mind didn't go there. lol

        Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author tyronne78
    Anything that will hurt my brand I won't do,that includes deceptive marketing. It's better to be honest and transparent.
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  • Profile picture of the author HamzaTariq001
    More like a scam deal to me. Whatever you do, you will have to live with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author gabrielrala
    That is interesting name for that trick, but I guess that won't work if questions were asked in in the first place, like is the price final for everything? is there any other charges included, and at the same time since we are customer we still have the final answer to a sales pitch if something didn't work out the way we talk, We can always back out! and report that they are doing fraud advertisment
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  • Profile picture of the author Regional Warrior
    I am trying to see the value in this thread and where others could as well , mods this belongs in the offtopic so the OP can get some really good honest answers this deserves
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  • Profile picture of the author minmin91
    You never know if you don't try it. If you don't feel it's good then don't it simple
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  • Profile picture of the author Rory Singh
    Moral of this story?

    Do on to others as you would have them do on to you (or don't).

    No one would want to be mislead.

    Lastly...

    Every time your gut lets you feel that you are just about to do something unethical, follow your intuition and don't do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Originally Posted by Junaid khawaja View Post

    Ok, so I recently finished Robert cialdini's masterpiece "Influence." It was a fantastic read!
    Throughout the read, one marketing technique really grasped my attention. It's called 'throwing a lowball'.

    For those who are not familiar with it, here is how wiki defines lowball "The low-ball is a persuasion and selling technique in which an item or service is offered at a lower price than is actually intended to be charged, after which an excuse or "error" is brought in to increase the price at its original value."

    Cialdini describes how 'throwing a lowball' technique is commonly used in car showrooms where a retailer first offers a lower price than usual to attract the customer. This is followed by allowing the customer to take a ride around and see how the car 'feels'.

    When the deal gets finalized, an "error" is brought in, for example, the dealer says "We forgot to add the air conditioner charges." Or usually, all the financial proceedings are handed over to a bank who deal with the customer directly and thus reducing the chances of any reaction that customer might produce.

    In a nut shell, a lower FAKE price (that is lower than all the competitors) is first quoted, and once the customer's decision stands on his legs, the original price is brought in.

    My question is: Is lowball a fair marketing technique? What's the thin line between throwing a lowball and being dishonest? Personally, I don't find any. Rather, I view this as sophisticated scam. From day one, I have learned that a marketer job is to SELL. Period. Ok.

    Sell by any means? Or sell by fair means?

    Or maybe, just as the title says, everything is fair in love, war and marketing?
    Originally Posted by Junaid khawaja View Post

    Commitment and consistency are two great influencers in marketing. I agree. However, Cialdini has himself mentioned techniques to overcome these influencers. Although 'throwing a lowball' applies the commitment principle, it still is deceptive in its nature..and by no means can be regarded as fair marketing practice.
    -J
    Junaid, go back and read that section again. Cialdini was writing as a scientist, not a moral compass. He described the technique and explained how and why it worked.

    I can't find any place that he recommended it or approved of it.

    It's kind of like a box of matches. You can use the matches to start a romantic fire in the fireplace, or you can use the matches to burn down a church. Your choice.

    The same goes for learning to use influence. You can use your new powers for good, or you can go over to the dark side...
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