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Marketing Tricks To Avoid

Careful, companies and big brands are having you for breakfast 🙂
Companies and brands today use quite a sophisticated marketing.
So sophisticated that it makes you buy things, and you’re  absolutely sure you made an excellent deal, but in reality it is no more than a clever manipulation done to you.

In this post I will give you some examples of marketing tricks that you fall for, over and over again.
This way you can avoid or at least be aware. Be cautious ok?

Marketing Scarcity

Fear of scarcity is a marketing technique that creates the illusion of demand to increase the perceived value of a product or service.
In other words, the company or brand makes you afraid that you’re about to miss the deal because there is a lot of demand and their offer will not be around for a long time.
This trick can be easily recognized by locating messages such as the following for example:

  • Last units in stock
  • Last 5 tickets left
  • Limited stock + sale for early buyers
  • do not miss


Social proof

Humans are social creatures. Following the herd is embedded in our bones.
Social proof is a powerful element in marketing. So strong that it makes us do things without being aware of them.

For example: you are hungry before lunch  and suddenly you see 2 new restaurants, one with many people inside and the other almost completely empty. Which restaurant will you go to?
Of course to the one that’s full right? Because you have social proof. But in reality this doesn’t mean that it’s better.
It could be that the second restaurant is much more prestigious and the dishes there are not for day to day lunch, it could be that there is just an specific event in the full restaurant, and maybe even the strongest hours of the second restaurant are at night?
There are many more options and unless you go and check, you’ll keep on believing the full restaurant is better.

This is exactly how the big brands work, they advertise how other people use and are satisfied by their product so that you trust the brand and agree to pay a few more bucks for a “reliable” product.

Another example is with generic drugs. Even though it is exactly the same substances and the same dosages, people will prefer to buy Advil and will be afraid of the cheaper generic substitute.

Social proof

Price illusion – (Charming prices)

A well-known marketing trick designed to make your brain think product price is lower than it really is.
The method here is to present a lower price by 1 to 5 cents.
Since the brain automatically reads numbers from left to right, the price seems lower even though in practice you won’t get change of 1 cent nor 5 cents so I call it a trick.
For example: vacuum cleaners costing $700 per unit – the prices shown on them are  $699.95

Charming prices

Simulated bait – The decoy effect

Simulated bait or the decoy effect is when you put an irrelevant product in the middle, in order to increase the perceived value of the expensive product.

For example, the cinema has a small popcorn that costs $3 and a large one that costs $7.
So they add a medium popcorn that costs $6.5 and then the large popcorn is suddenly seen as a really good deal, just add a 50 cents…
But if you remove the fake decoy of the medium popcorn off the table, then compared to the small popcorn, $7 is a completely normal price and not a very cheap one either.


Sale price – Anchoring pricing

Adding a “sale” price instead of the deleted “regular price” is perhaps the most popular trick.
They simply put a price with an X on it to increase the perceived value of the product.

In many experiments it has been proven that products with a reduced price are sold much better than those products without a reduced price in parallel stores.
For example, in an experiment they did at a well-known chain store in the USA, they tried in one branch to sell televisions for $189 when only the price is displayed and in another branch they presented the same televisions and the same price only with a deleted price “instead of $500”.
The sales of the branch with the deleted price were almost 3 times better than the branch without the deleted price.

Anchoring pricing


There are many more tricks and manipulations that our minds absorb every day and apparently affect us even without us being aware of it.
At the same time, when you are aware of those tricks, it’s easier to aim for a smart purchase and not an emotional purchase.
By reading this – I hope you will start to pay attention, make smarter purchases and thus contribute to reducing the bubble around unnecessary or just expensive products that their companies make you believe you need to buy now.