Here are 25 Interesting Marketing Tricks Marketers Use on Customers.

1-5 Interesting Marketing Tricks

Children with phones

1. Over the past few years, phone companies are including younger and younger children into their ads, subtly sending a message to parents that it is normal for an eight year old child to have a smartphone.

2. Creating a false sense of urgency. There are two ways this presents itself, either the product is presented as to have a very limited stock, thus the customer must choose to have the product now or never. In the second case, the product is part of a “limited time offer,” again pushing the now or never decision. If the customer walks out the door/changes webpages/whatever equivalent, they might notice that they don’t actually need the product to continue on with their lives, so marketers try to make the consumer feel like they’ll miss out on a great opportunity if they don’t buy then and there.

3. Making you buy something you don’t really need just because you have a 20% off coupon.

4. The “one weird trick” banner ads are incredibly successful because they get people curious enough to click. “12 of the most incredible cats you’ve ever seen! You won’t believe it!” is tantalizing enough to get the average person intrigued, and many multi-million-dollar businesses have sprung up by relying on this one weird trick of human psychology.

5. The Gruen Transfer. It is basically when you enter a shopping center and become confused by the layout, thus forgetting why you are there (what specific purchase you intend to make) and instead become an impulsive buyer.


6-10 Interesting Marketing Tricks

Toothpaste-on-Brush

6. Toothpaste and shampoo commercials will show actors and actresses using way more product than needed in an attempt to encourage consumers to burn through a bottle more quickly.

7. Most menus in “nicer” restaurants will have a really expensive option. This isn’t actually aimed at getting people to buy that product, but to make people think that everything else looks cheaper.

8. Product placement on television and movies. It’s not always subtle but even if you’re aware of what’s going on, you’re thinking about the product and brand. Similarly, bad commercials are sometimes intended to be bad.

9. Buy X, Get X Free. They know people are drawn to the word free and it makes people buy more than they intended. This allows them to move more product than usual, even though they are making a smaller margin.

10. Customers have to make a decision to buy or not to buy. Getting them to decide to buy is often difficult. So, marketers often present things in such a way so as to have your brain switch that into a decision between two offers. One common trick is when media can be purchased and shipped (such as a CD) vs purchased and downloaded. Some places offer not just the choice between the two delivery methods, but some add a third choice for both combined, at the same exact price as the shipped option. The irrational part of your brain says, “So, I can get this delivered for $15 or delivered and downloaded for the same price? That’s a no brainer, I’ll take the combo” and you’ve just changed the decision from “buy vs not to buy”, to “buy one vs buy the other which is a better deal.”

11-15 Interesting Marketing Tricks

50% off discounts

11. Doubling the price of a product and then giving everybody 50% off discounts.

12. A lot of people think that the point of marketing is to make someone go out and buy the product right then or that you’ll stand in the store and think “I remember Gilette had a really cool commercial… I should buy it.” That’s not the point. The point is that you recognize the name. They want you standing there looking at razors and subconsciously filter out names that are unfamiliar to you. They want their name to make that cut until it’s the least-unfamiliar.

13. Candies/smaller goods in the checkout line. You are already purchasing something, so why not just purchase one more little thing. It’s just a dollar or two. However, recent studies have shown that these types of sales are dropping. The reason being that smartphones are making us less impulsive. Everyone keeps their head down checking their phone in queues now.

14. Products that are advertised “For Men” or “For Women,” like shower gel, or deodorant. They are most probably the same product, but often times differ in price.

15. More and more companies are using sciencey words like “quantum” and “ions” to make it seem like they have an elite team of theoretical physicists making their product better.


16-20 Interesting Marketing Tricks

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16. Supermarkets purposefully and constantly move items around, for the sole purpose of making you wander around the store to find the product you were looking for. When you make a beeline straight to where you know the item is you are looking for, you ignore the other products. To prevent this, supermarkets moves the products around the store so you’re never quite sure where it is, causing you to look around and be exposed to other products you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise, thus increasing the amount you buy. In any grocery store, every square inch of that place has been strategically planned to make you spend the most money.

17. The Decoy Effect. Say a movie theater offers two sizes of popcorn: a large for $7 and a small for $2. You’ll probably get the smaller one because, who really wants to spend an extra $5 for more popcorn than they can eat? But now the movie theater adds in a medium size for $6.50. You’re going to buy the large because it’s only $ 0.50 more than the medium one.

18. When they call a cereal “Chocolatey” that just means they couldn’t call it “chocolate.” To call something “chocolate” it has to have at least 10% actual chocolate. “Chocolatey” means it has less than 10% chocolate.

19. Target has a set amount of dollars that they try to get you to spend per visit. They are really good at getting you to do that. Other stores do this too, but Target is the master.

20. Loyalty programs never ever save you money. You always spend more to get the rewards.

21-25 Interesting Marketing Tricks

Genuine North American hardwood flooring

21. “Genuine North American hardwood flooring.” If it was from the US, they’d call it American hardwood. If it was from Canada, they’d call it Canadian hardwood. North American hardwood flooring is actually from Mexico.

22. Any nutritional or health recommendation from any company anywhere is canned up by a pseudo legitimate hack and worded so vaguely that it can’t be affirmed or denied.

23. Disney perfected the “stages of life” method. Hook ’em young. Customer for life. When they spawn, they’re a customer too. Recently other brands too have adopted this chain-along strategy.

24. When liquor stores can’t sell some cheap bottles of wine, they increase the price on them. Since the vast majority of people who are buying wine know nothing about wine itself, they buy them simply based on price with a mentality that the more expensive it is, the better.

25. Tobacco companies sometimes make anti-smoking ads because they can’t exactly encourage smoking, but the ads still get the idea of “smoking” in someone’s head. People who smoke say that those ads actually give them the craving for a cigarette.

Last Update: August 25, 2020