February 4, 2023

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Fourteen Sins of Generator Marketing and How to Avoid Them

Generator Marketing – a subset of behavioral marketing – is marketing that manipulates customers into doing something they wouldn’t do otherwise. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but it can cost your company dearly if you don’t know the 14 sins and how to avoid them.

1. Fearmongering: 

Scaring people with images of failing power grids and rampant anarchy when a hurricane hits is a great way to get them to install generators now, but the law-abiding folks in your community won’t appreciate the vandalism (“you should have seen what happened by my neighbor’s house”) and other damage done by those who resorted to generator looting after the storm has passed.

2. Scarcity: 

If a generator is in short supply, you can clear the shelves and cash in on the scarcity by cutting off orders for anyone who comes along later. The problem is that the word will get out that it’s a limited-supply product, which will cause customers to scramble to install them before someone else does. The long-term effect will be more sales than you ever imagined. Use scarcity only when other marketing channels are saturated and you need to clear your backlog.

3. Causality: 

Saying that something will happen if people don’t take action now implies a cause-and-effect relationship, which often isn’t true. You could say, “manufacturers are sold out,” but that doesn’t imply a causal relationship to increased safety or preparedness. Advertisers have been using this trick for decades to sell products that don’t solve the problem directly.

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4. New and Improved: 

The public is wary of anything new, especially because the word “new” is often followed by an exclamation point. They don’t know what the differences are or whether they’ll be an improvement, so you need to convince them in other ways.

5. On Sale: 

Generators are like airplanes: they’re expensive to produce and maintain, but they’re in demand. Advertise them as a low-cost alternative to other products that are just as good, if not better. It’s a lot harder to sell a product that is more expensive than it used to be.

6. Grab Your Free Gift: 

Just because you’re advertising something doesn’t mean you should hand it out for free. This reinforces the myth of scarcity, which will cause prices to rise even further than the rich-get-richer effect would predict.

7. Mystery: 

This is a common generator marketing tactic. Give hints about what the product will do, but not the details. Hinting that the product can keep your family safe from electrical outages, for example, is fine. Saying that it will work in a pinch if you have to plug your car in to recharge its battery because of a power outage is not cool.

8. Reliable: 

A lot of suppliers use this marketing trick, even though nothing about their product can be called reliable except their 99-year guarantee – and that’s like saying “the sky is blue,” which fails to make it true in any meaningful way. Reliable is a vague term that doesn’t convey any specific meaning.

9. Best: 

Nothing is ever best in the long run. This implies that there is something better around the corner, which will make your customers think about switching to it before they’re ready. It’s also a bad statistical claim because it sets the bar so high that anything less than “best” will look like a failure at first glance.

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10. Only: 

This is another vague term that doesn’t really mean anything. The best way to avoid using it is to list the benefits of a product, not its limitations. Some people go so far as to say that there are no limitations, but this implies that no matter how small a generator is, it will still be more useful than one that’s bigger.

11. Same: 

Often used as a synonym for “only” by salespeople who forget what they learned in grade school (or think they know better than their teachers), “same” is used incorrectly when you are talking about different products and features. The word doesn’t make the claim any different.

12. Largest: 

Research shows that almost everyone thinks “bigger is better” when it comes to generators. There are a few exceptions, but this is a sin that many suppliers commit, and it’s a lot more common than you might think.

13. No Hassle: 

The best way to phrase this is by describing the benefits of the product that will make installation and use simple for everyone, with no hassle for anyone involved. You’ll get more orders this way instead of implying that customers will have a hard time figuring out how to do what they want to do with your product.

14. Lowest: 

The benefits of a product can be described in the form of percentages if you’ve done your homework. It’s misleading to say “lowest price” because it sets the bar so low that many people will think that you’re implying that with a generator, price isn’t as important as it is with other products.

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