To be clear, I'm not endorsing launching poor products to grow sales and this story isn't about any product Think Twice Marketing has launched! I'm a great fan of reading books that help to understand and develop marketing as well as around personal development and this story is from a book titled Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.
The story is about a company that launched a breadmaker which, at the time, was a relatively new concept. When Williams-Sonoma first launched their breadmaker for $275, sales were poor and despite their best marketing efforts, consumers didn’t get the concept of making bread at home and found it even harder to understand why they should pay $275 for such a device.
Williams-Sonoma needed a plan B. More thought into improving the solution, it seemed was needed. So what did Sonoma do?
They launched a larger, heavier and less attractive breadmaker at a 50% premium to the original version (although at the time it was considered to have more features the new breadmaker couldn't really be justified at a 50% premium).
What happened was unexpected. Sales started to grow rapidly - but not for the premium priced product, it was for the original machine priced at $275. Why had this happened?
The answer, it seems is - in one word - relativity. This is less about Einstein and more about how people compare your solutions relative to each other, relative to the competition and relative to the idea of not purchasing anything at all.
On its own, the $275 bread maker had nothing to compare against. Possibly a cheaper coffee maker or some other kitchen appliance? Or maybe the idea of keeping $275 in your pocket? Once the new bread maker was launched consumers were saying “wow, this bread maker is much better value for money and is smaller, I think I’ll take that one” rather than “a bread maker? Not sure why I want to pay over $200 for that!”. The conversation in their mind had shifted from whether to buy at all to which one should I buy.
Relativity plays a big role in marketing and decision making. If you are looking to launch a poorer or inferior product or service we can't help but If you would like to learn more about how relativity can be used to improve your marketing activities and grow your sale then my book 'Psychology in Marketing and Sales' is a recommended read. Head over to the Resources page to find out more.
The opinions in these blog posts are those of marketing professional and book author Darren Hignett.