Is alcohol a stimulant or is it a depressant?
If you visit almost any bar and grill on a Friday night after work, you would swear that alcohol was a stimulant. The noise and laughter are strong evidence of alcohol’s stimulating effects. Yet at 4:00 in the morning, when you see a few happy-hour customers sleeping it off in the streets, you would swear that alcohol is a depressant.
Chemically, alcohol is a strong depressant. But in the short term, by depressing a person’s inhibitions, alcohol acts like a stimulant.
Many marketing moves exhibit the same phenomenon. The long-term effects are often the exact opposite of the short term-effects.
Does a sale increase a company’s business or decrease it? Obviously, in the short term, a sale increases business. But there is more and more evidence to show that sales decrease business in the long term by educating customers not to buy at “regular” prices.
Aside from the fact that you can buy something for less, what does a sale say to a prospect? It says that your regular prices are too high. After the sale is over, customer’s tend to avoid a store with a “sale” reputation.
To maintain volume, retail outlets find they have to run almost continuous sales. It is not unusual to walk down a retail block and find a dozen stores in a row with “Sale” signs in their windows.
Have the automobile rebate programs increased sales? The rise of auto rebates has coincided with a decline in auto sales. U.S. vehicle sales have declined for five straight years in a row.
There is no evidence that couponing increases sales in the long run. Many companies find they need a quarterly dose of couponing to keep sales on an even keel. Once they stop couponing, sales drop off.
In other words, you keep those coupons rolling out not increase sales but to keep sales from falling off if you stop. Couponing is a drug. You continue to do it because the withdrawal symptoms are just to painful.
Any sort of couponing, discounts, or sales tends to educate consumers to buy only when they can get a deal. What if a company never started couponing in the first place? In the retail field the big winners are the companies that practice “everyday low prices”; companies like Wal-mart and K Mart and the rapidly growing warehouse outlets.
Yet almost everywhere you look you see yo-yo pricing. The airlines and supermarkets are two examples. Recently, however Proctor & Gamble made a bold move to establish uniform pricing which could become the start of a trend.
In everyday life there are many examples of short-term gains and long-term losses, crime being an example. If you a rob a bank for $100,000 and wind up spending 10 years in jail; you either made $100,000 for a day’s work or $10,000 a year for 10 years of labor. It all depends on your point of view.
Inflation, or the recent government stimulus (cash for clunkers comes to mind), can give an economy a short-term jolt but in the long run, inflation leads to recession or a Great Deflation as is being experienced in the U.S. at this time (circa 2010).
In the short term, overeating satisfies the psyche but in the long run it causes obesity and depression.
In many other areas of life (spending money, taking drugs, having sex) the long-term effects of your actions are often the opposite of the short-term effects. Why then is it so hard to comprehend that marketing effects take place over an extended period of time?
Take line extension. In the short term, line extension invariably increases sales. The beer industry clearly illustrates this effect.
Look what happened to Coors. The introduction of Coors Light caused the collapse of Coors regular; which today sells one fourth of the volume it used to sell.
In the short term, both brands can co-exist and do well. But in the long term, line extension was bound to undermine one or the other of the two brands. Once the decline starts, it is almost impossible to stop.
Unless you know what to look for, it is hard to see the effects of line extension, especially for managers focused on their next quarterly report. (If a bullet took five years to reach a target, very few criminals would be convicted of homicide.
In other areas of marketing, the short-term / long-term line extension effects occur much more rapidly. Let’s look at what happened to Donald Trump. At first, The Donald was successful. He then branched out and put his name on anything for which the banks would lend him money; hotels, casinos, condominiums, an airline, and a shopping center. Many asked, what is a Trump? What does Trump mean?
Fortune magazine called Trump an investor with a keen eye for cash flow and asset values, a smart marketer, a cunning wheeler-dealer. The Donald has been on the cover of many magazines.
At various points in time, Trump has declared bankruptcy. What made The Donald successful in the short term is exactly what cause him to fail in the long term – line extension.
It looks easy, but marketing is not a game for amateurs.
It takes a while but many Internet Marketing entrepreneurs recognize marketing effects take place over an extended period of time and as a result, they use various methods and tools to build relationships with their leads and customers. They build websites that create trust. They collect name and email addresses using an Optin form on a Landing Page. They use email systems with both auto-responders and broadcast capabilities in order to send messages to their leads and customers. These email messages frequently send information, provide knowledge, and occasionally promote an offering. Many Internet Marketing entrepreneurs learn that leads and customers do not like to be sold to however they will browse and shop. Over an extended period of time, skilled Internet Marketers are able to use hypnotic writing skills, in their marketing campaigns, to get leads and customers to take the action they want. This is how they learn to add value and be successful in the world that includes the Law of Perspective.
Marketing is not a battle of products. It is all about the strategy you use to benefit from the Law of Perspective as marketing effects take place over an extended period of time and requires not only perspective but also persistence.
You can find out more about Internet Marketing and home-based businesses by reading updates that will be posted at my blog over the next few weeks.
Finally, a great book to read is “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” by Ries & Trout. It is the source of some of the material provided in this article.