"The principle of scarcity is based on the future unavailability of something, even if we don't need it: Opportunities seem more valuable to us when their availability is limited."
- A quote from Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Caldini.
If you have been following Seth Godin's new publishing platform called The Domino Project, then you may have been just as excited as I was to hear an 'exciting' announcement this morning. The announcement ended up being pushed until later in the day but Seth wrote a wonderful note explaining why and even giving hints as to what the announcement would be. All anyone knew was that it was going to be a deal, but a very limited-time deal.
Seth even went so far as to say that part of the success for the Groupons of the world, is the fact that their business model has scarcity built in. How many times have we been influenced by the scarcity principle? Discounts, deals, limited-time offers... any of these ring a bell?
When the Domino Project finally revealed the limited-time deal, it lead me to discover this wonderful offering by Amazon called lightning deals. According to Amazon.com, "A Lightning Deal is a promotion in which a limited number of discounts are offered on a single item for a short period of time." Lightning deals really are an amazing value for money, but what makes them even more amazing is how they truly epitomize the principle of scarcity. I encourage you after reading this post to just visit the lightning deals area of Amazon's site and take a look at the principle in action. You may find yourself automagically moving the mouse closer and closer to the buy now button, simply because the deal is too good to be true.
So what can a marketer learn from this? (this being the underlying principle of any daily deal business model)... Think rare. Think hard to find. Think the situation with iPad 2's right now. This principle can most easily be applied to an event. Create an event, invite only 50 of the most influential people in your tribe and wow them. This is the idea of a private beta. Think about how much the other x amount of people in your tribe will be hanging on each influencer's every word.
In the past week alone, how much have you been influenced by the scarcity principle? Can we as a society start using this principle as a means of doing good? The clock is ticking.