What is scarcity marketing?
You might refer to it as sleazy marketing or manipulative marketing. Really, the term “scarcity marketing” applies to any marketing that feels icky or gross to the marketer or the audience.
We use the term “scarcity” to illustrate the harmful mindset behind the communication style. At the end of the day, these harmful tactics are perpetuated by people who don’t feel worthy or able to succeed on their own merit.
Scarcity marketing is popular in the online space, with people using tactics that rely on manipulation, deceit, disempowerment, and // or creating an imbalanced power dynamic between them & their audience. It may be the most visible way to market your offers, but it’s not the only way.
I’m getting reallyyyyy sick of seeing this…
If there’s one thing we believe in here at Zehra Studio, it’s the power of personal discovery & development. Our entire branding process is founded on & reflects these values.
We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all approaches, but rather encourage everyone to find & follow their own path to greatness, whatever it may look like.
So you can imagine it gets really frustrating when we see lazy, sleazy marketing happening in high traffic places like Instagram, where harmful messages can do a lot of damage to the unknowing person’s mindset & business. And it seems like there’s been a lot more of it happening lately.
Tons of business owners continue to use these same tactics that sucked me in when I was first starting out in business, and then used myself before I knew better.
How to Identify Scarcity Marketing
This type of marketing can be incredibly insidious & hard to spot, simply because it’s so widely accepted. When I was first starting out as an entrepreneur, I figured that if everyone was doing it, it couldn’t be that harmful.
But implementing these “normal” & widely accepted tactics left me feeling drained, uncomfortable, and honestly… just gross. And I wish I knew sooner what to look out for so I could’ve made more informed decisions about the type of messages I wanted to associate with my brand.
So keep an eye out for marketers who:
- Put down the competition in order to put themselves on a pedestal.
- Use language that disempowers their audience & entices them to buy for fear that they’re “missing something”
- Manufacture urgency to trick people into buying
And pay attention to how these people make you feel. If they can’t make you feel good when selling to you, they probably won’t make you feel good after you’ve bought from them.
All these are examples of what we like to call scarcity marketing—messages, campaigns, & content that target audiences in a negative way. The object of these messages is to make the receiver feel less than, in order to profit off of their insecurities. It’s deceitful, dishonest, & disingenuous, and it’s exactly the opposite of what we stand for at Zehra Studio.
The most insidious part about scarcity marketing is that it’s normal.
It’s the common, accepted way of communicating with your audience. Many people think (with their own scarcity mindset) that the only way to win at marketing is to create a power imbalance that positions them at the top of the pyramid. And I’m here to tell you that that couldn’t be further from the truth.
There’s a way to market & sell your offers without disempowering people, shaming people, & stepping on people to get to this illusion of “the top.”
At Zehra Studio, we advocate for & practice mindful marketing.
Mindful marketing is rooted in abundance, & strives to uplift everyone so we can all rise together. We don’t believe you’re missing anything—we just want to help you build on what you already have.
The tactics we use look a little like this, if you want to borrow them & practice them for yourself:
- Networking & building *real* relationships with our competitors from different industries, as well as individuals in our target audience. This fills our cup energetically, & at the same time, allows us to create a referral network with each other.
- Using empowering language to inspire & uplift our audience. This helps our audience associate our brand with positive feelings rather than negative ones. Would you keep showing up to support a brand that made you feel disempowered?
- Defaulting to our integrity. When in doubt, we abide by & align ourselves with our brand values. This helps us keep consistent with our message & tone of voice, which allows us to build more trust with our audience.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a great place to start!
At the end of the day, it’s about making your audience feel good.
Would you rather buy from a brand that…
- makes you feel insecure, or empowers you?
- scares you, or inspires you?
- acts superior to you, or treats you like an equal?
If the answer is clear to you, you can bet it’s clear to your audience as well.
At a certain point, the way you market yourself isn’t just about how many people end up buying from you. It’s about how you make people feel, and the feelings your audience associates with your brand.
Positive feelings (empowerment, inspiration, abundance, confidence) will lead to positive associations, just as negative feelings (insecurity, uncertainty, discomfort, scarcity) will lead to negative associations.
At the end of the day, if you can embrace mindful marketing & uplift your audience, you’ll be able to accomplish anything.