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Creating Product Addicts

by Ian Gordon
published by Ivey Business Journal, 2014
Ref 9B14TA02

Addiction isn’t always negative, writes the author of this article, who claims that products and the way they are sold can be so compelling that many consumers are willing to repeat the experience again and again. They become addicted to the brand.

In effect, this creates product addiction of a positive kind, but to achieve this, argues the author, many marketers need to make significant changes to how they operate. This article highlights the four main, interrelated areas in which brand addiction can be planned: product, rewards, price and communications.

Topics discussed include the potential value of offering free products or services to create new consumer behaviours. As well as being potentially addictive, ‘free’ offers can still require some form of ‘payment’ by the consumer which is beneficial to the seller, for example, the requirement to watch an advertisement, provide useful marketing information, or buy a related item such as ink cartridges for a free printer.

However, the author notes that price reductions need to be handled with care. As a general example, a company that cuts prices by 25% would need to double its sales to ensure profitability.

The author also discusses the five benefits that a product can offer to motivate consumers to buy again, including elements such as loyalty programmes, alignment with good causes, and after-sales services. Ultimately, companies can go beyond customer satisfaction, and even beyond loyalty, to develop intense bonds between their products and consumers. 

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About the author

Ian Gordon is President of Convergence Management Consultants Ltd.

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