By Kerry Roberts
Do you ever catch yourself in a moment of complete confusion and stop to reflect? I work from home so I am constantly toggling between work and personal emails with no worry that a boss is looking over my shoulder as I wish a friend Happy Birthday on Facebook. Sometimes this freedom is a problem.
Today’s case in point: Neiman Marcus occasionally sends out an email titled “Mid Day Dash”. It is just as it sounds. A collection of designer goods of very limited supply, and only online, offered at prices over 65% off. Did the hair on the back of your arms just go up? I started off innocently enough, perusing these emails . . . window shopping as it were.
Then one day I spotted a handbag that I had had my eye on for weeks – at half of the retail value. I quickly added it to my shopping bag and was running for my credit card with a grin, only to receive an auto-reply message that it was out of stock? Not available? How could that be, I received the email 90seconds ago, how can it already not be available? The staff member on their chat service confirmed that the item had sold out immediately. That is when I realized it. I was engaged in an every girl for herself clickity clacking with lightening speed on her keyboard to snag these designer goods.
Today the email came again and I was ready, I pounced on the site, skimmed thru the goods with a practiced eye, and loaded my virtual shopping bag. I was just about to hit ‘checkout’ when I stopped to ask myself if I even WANTED these items. I realized my pulse was racing, my breathing was heavy – it was such a visceral reaction that I had to stop and give kudos to Neiman Marcus for their brilliance. (and then, with all the restraint in the world, I wrote this blog instead of completing my purchase)
A few lessons from Neiman Marcus’ Mid Day Dash:
- The Power of an Overt Call to Action: Act Fast. Act Now. It does not get any more overt or explicit than “Mid Day Dash”. I can almost hear the gun going off in their Corporate Offices.
- Focus on the Score: At 65% off, I know that I would have still paid too much for these items. But knowing that I would have paid less than half of retail is somehow more gratifying than the absolute price.
- Make it a Competition: Setting your consumers against each other might seem harsh, but it is brilliant in a virtual reality. I don’t actually have to shove or elbow anyone out of the way, I just have to be fastest.
- Time it and Tag it: Neiman Marcus knows that all over the US there are professional women who take a few minutes over lunch to peruse the web or personal email. Their Mid Day Dash is a brilliant exploitation of this insight, and Tagging it a “Dash” is genius branding.
Despite all this rational reflection, I will continue to bravely compete in the Mid-Day Dash. And if this blog has recruited any new racers . . . may you eat my keyboard’s dust. Happy shopping!