Marketing Hype – Does It Still Work?
There’s a lot to learn in the world of affiliate marketing. You need to learn how to find products to sell, how to build a Website, and how to attract visitors to your site so you can make sales. There’s a lot to learn, but there are some things that you traditionally don’t have to figure out. What motivates people to buy hasn’t changed much in decades, and the tricks that used to work still do. That’s why I was surprised to read an article about marketing hype at a blog on the American Express Website recently.
While the topic of the article was marketing hype, the point of the article was to encourage readers, many of whom are marketers, to engage in positive marketing practices. There’s nothing wrong with that; it would be nice if everyone did that. The approach of the article was an interesting one, however, as the article was titled “8 Marketing Hype Tactics Sure to Backfire.” The premise is that if you engage in these practices, you not only aren’t going to succeed, but you’re actually likely to fail. Why? Because, according to the article, Website visitors and customers today are too wise, jaded, and savvy to fall for marketing hype anymore. Is this true?
Examples of Marketing Hype
The article then went on to offer eight examples of marketing hype that they claim doesn’t work anymore, along with explanations as to why that particular technique doesn’t work anymore and what you should be doing instead.
I’ll go over a few of their examples of marketing hype and offer my thoughts.
Scarcity – This one has been around forever, and if you’ve ever bought anything in the make money online niche, you’ll still see it regularly. The idea is that people are more likely to buy if they think that the product is limited in quantity or available at a particular price only for a limited time. The article said that this method doesn’t work anymore because “consumers have learned to recognize false claims of scarcity.” While there is some truth to that, in that customers are aware that a scarcity ploy exists, that doesn’t mean that claims of scarcity don’t work anymore. They do, particularly in terms of raising the price.
A common tactic among Internet marketers is to introduce a product at a relatively low price and raise the price over time. You’ll frequently see a sales page with a countdown timer that indicates that the price is going to go up in a few hours or a few days. Does this cause people to buy? Yes, it does. The scarcity trick still works, but if you promise scarcity, you’d better be prepared to deliver it. False scarcity will hurt you.
Celebrity endorsements – You don’t see celebrity endorsements much in the make money online niche; it’s mostly reserved for products with a customer base that’s more broad. The article said that celebrity endorsements backfire because bad behavior by the celebrity could hurt your brand or because people won’t buy from someone that they know has nothing to do with the product.
Do celebrity endorsements work today? That’s an easy one to answer – are companies still using celebrities to sell their products? Yes, they are, and that will tell you all that you need to know. It costs a bundle to hire someone famous to promote your product, and if customers have become too savvy regarding this form of marketing hype, then companies would have stopped doing it. They haven’t, have they?
Social proof or testimonials – According to the article, customers ignore testimonials and instead go to review sites, such as Yelp, looking for genuine reviews, rather than accepting the testimonials offered by the seller of the product. That may be true if you’re selling one of those “as seen on TV” products, but it’s certainly not true in the make money online niche or in most affiliate marketing. Testimonials still work. Don’t believe me? Go visit the Warrior Special Offers (WSO) section of the Warrior Forum. You”ll notice that all of the top products there have tons of testimonials from buyers. You’ll also see testimonials all over the sales page of any information or software product in this niche. Granted, those testimonials are often paid ones (Fiverr is a common source), but there’s a reason why you still see them everywhere – they work.
Comparisons – Whether comparisons work anymore or not depends on the product. I think people are pretty suspicious of those “before and after” photos shown by weight loss products, but an honest chart comparing the product you’re promoting with one of the competing products can influence sales. People do want to know what they’re getting and they do want to know how what you’re offering to them compares with whatever else might be out there. If the comparisons are honest and the information shown is truthful, comparisons can’t help but increase sales.
Use of Name – This one’s very common in the Internet marketing world and it works. Granted, you might not believe that Publisher’s Clearing House knows you personally when you get that envelope in the mail addressing you personally, but you’ll find that any time you sign up for someone’s mailing list in the Internet marketing world (including mine), you’ll be addressed by name anytime you receive a message. For me, the use of a first name reinforces the fact that there is some sort of relationship involved. When it comes to email that I receive personally, I check to see if I’m being addressed personally to determine if the message is something to which I’ve subscribed or if it’s just spam. Messages that address me by name are likely from a list to which I’ve subscribed. If it just says “Hey there!”, it’s going to the junk folder.
Repetition – This one might be the silliest of all. The article says that “the ease with which consumers can review and publicize products—from beverages to builders—means that name recognition alone isn’t enough.” Repetition works, and repeating the name of your product early and often puts it in the buyer’s mind and keeps it there.
I’m not going to elaborate on how silly this one is. Does repetition help? You be the judge:
Marketing Hype Conclusion
Are customers too savvy and sophisticated to fall for marketing hype today? No, sadly, they’re not. Marketers don’t waste time or money on things that don’t work. Instead, they find things that do work and they use them instead. If scarcity, repetition, and celebrity endorsements didn’t work anymore, then no one would use them.
Don’t fall for the hype – marketing hype is still alive and well, for better or for worse.