How This Discount Strategy Destroys Trust In Your Brand

Source: Stencil

Every month it appears like clockwork. An email begs me to upgrade my standard software to the pro version. For over a year, this email arrives one week before month end. The text of the email changes month to month. The discount and terms are identical.

They offer an opportunity to upgrade for 50% off the normal price. The discount lasts only three days. After that, it goes back to the regular price. And like it states in the email, they’re serious about the deadline.

It sounds enticing. Save $250 off the full price. I must admit, the pro version is impressive. I’ve thought about buying it on a few occasions.


The deal is flawed. To understand why let’s flashback fourteen months ago.

We first bought this software over a year ago. We bought the standard version. It fit most of our needs. The pro version did not seem worth it.

Even though we declined, they took an ingenious approach. They granted us access to the pro features for the first three months. After that, you revert to the standard features unless you upgrade.

Three months passed. Our free trial for the pro features expired. The pro upgrade tempted us. We grew accustomed to the extra features. Lucky for us, they offered a limited time discount. For three days you can upgrade for 50% off. It seemed like a great deal.

One thing led to another. We never got around to upgrading and missed the deal. Life goes on.

The next month we received another email offering the same deal and terms. We had three days to upgrade.

The snazzy pro features faded in memory a bit. Still, the deal enticed us. Again, we failed to act and the deal expired.

A Pattern Emerges

The next month the same email arrived.

Wait a minute. There’s a pattern here. Every month the same deal appears. They offer the same discount and terms. By now, the game is up. We know to expect the exact same deal and terms in four weeks, month in and month out.

This is a classic example of fake urgency.

Marketers like to tout the need for urgency. Offering a great deal that expires in three days creates urgency. Offering that exact same deal every month becomes a pattern.

Patterns create predictability. Predictability eliminates urgency.

It’s okay to offer deals but stay true to your word. Avoid once in a lifetime claims unless you mean it. Better yet, never offer the same deal twice. Change the discount, terms or bonuses each time. Repeating the exact same deal removes all the urgency. They’ll assume you’ll offer it again.

That’s the bad news. But it gets worse.

By making a claim and then reneging on your claim you come across as deceitful. Nothing destroys trust faster.

Call To Action

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