The harder something is to get, the more people are going to want it.
It's human nature.
We've all seen children playing perfectly happy until they see another kid with a different toy.
All of a sudden, they NEED it. The toy they were originally playing with has quickly become obsolete.
This “scarcity principle” is well known in the world of advertising and marketing, and it's something almost any business can leverage to get people talking.
Any kind of “SALE” uses scarcity.
The price is temporarily reduced, but you have to act in a certain amount of time to get the discount.
Recently, SnapChat was able to create a brief but substantial frenzy by doing something extremely unique…
They unexpectedly dropped SnapChat branded vending machines in major US cities.
The machines sold SnapChat Spectacles, a product that can record short videos from the wearer's perspective.
People went CRAZY.
Check it out:
How SnapChat Used the Scarcity Principle to Create a Buying Frenzy
Ephemeral social media app Snapchat's parent company, Snap Inc., unveiled Snapchat Spectacles in September 2016: sunglasses that could record 10-second videos from the perspective of the wearer.
But instead of selling the new gadget online or at a storefront, Spectacles were initially only sold via Snapbots — smiling, Snapchat-themed vending machines that were randomly dropped in cities around the United States.
[image source: Phandroid]
There were never announcements in advance of the arrival of Snapbots — most awareness was generated on social mediachannels, and huge lines of people would queue hoping to purchase Spectacles before the Snapbot ran out of stock for the day.
Now, Spectacles are sold online or at a few more permanent pop-up locations, so there's no need to line up outside a vending machine if you don't want to.
But for the initial launch, the Snapbots were a unique approach to the scarcity complex.
Spectacles were available for a limited time only — just the day the Snapbot was in your city, and you had to beat everyone else trying to buy Spectacles before the machine sold out.
Plus, the product's scarcity meant nobody — ourselves included here at HubSpot — could stop talking about the Spectacles.
Blog posts and social media comments about the unique selling approach helped fuel even more interest in the products.
And although we don't have hard numbers about how the Spectacles are performing, MediaKix projects Snap will achieve $5 billion in Spectacles sales by 2020.
Scarcity is a powerful psychological tool. When people feel that time or supplies are limited, they'll jump at the chance to act fast.
You can head over to HubSpot to find seven more examples of brands that used the scarcity principle to promote and sell products.