Posts tagged ‘consumer behavior’

February 6, 2020

#161) Apps I’ve paid for #3: Amazing Slow Downer

As a boomer stuck in a Generation X body, I’m not a huge fan of smart phone apps. Sure, some of them are useful, but many of them seem to exist solely to use data, gather information and slow down processor speed, all to line the pockets of the dev…

Ok, boomer, let’s get focused here.

With hundreds of thousands of free apps available, why would anyone pay for one? That’s the focus of this series, in which I spotlight apps I have paid for and the process that made me decide to pull the trigger. In previous editions of “Apps I’ve Paid For” I broke down my decisions to buy the Prince of Persia and Modern Hiker apps – both of which cost $2 in 2013 (shows you how often I pay for apps.)

Today, we will look at why I decided to buy the “Amazing Slow Downer” app for…dun dun DUN…TEN dollars!

Short story: it was a word of mouth recommendation.

Long story: the idea that word of mouth is the best possible marketing is not exactly an earth-shaking concept, but how do you GET it?

I learned about the Amazing Slow Downer from Maureen, a violinist in my community orchestra. She overheard me and the other bassist talking about how the music was kicking our ass and suggested the app to us. Being able to slow down recordings to practice along with them was helpful to her and more enjoyable than just playing with a metronome, or struggling to keep up with the music when it was played on CD or Youtube. Technology that slows down music without altering the pitch has been around for a while, but being able to conveniently do it on one’s phone was a selling point. Four days later (a nearly instantaneous response to a suggestion by my standards) I bought it.

In Malcolm Gladwell terms, Maureen would be an example of a “connector” – someone who has contact with many people and can spread the word quickly. As a member of an orchestra, she sees dozens of people each week at rehearsal and even if she’s not particularly close friends with all of them, they all have music in common and are all potential customers for a helpful music-related product.

Another thing Maureen is is a boomer, or at least close to it. Though I don’t know her well enough to ask her age or be able to derive it from casual conversation, I would guess that she is closer to Boomerdom than Generation X-ness (or certainly Millenniality). While Roni Music, creators of the Amazing Slow Downer, might not have consciously been marketing to boomers/Gen X., their product was intuitive enough for someone like Maureen who probably did not grow up with a home computer to figure out. Seeing someone who is (likely) older than me using scary new technology makes it…well, less scary, and suddenly the idea of joining the 21st century isn’t so intimidating.

In the past two editions of “Apps I’ve Paid For” I noted that neither of the two apps has a free counterpart. There are probably free apps that do basically the same thing as the Amazing Slow Downer, but based on Maureen’s recommendation, I decided it would be better to plunk down $10 and save myself the hassle of browsing Google Play (something that I find about as appealing as going to the DMV) and possibly wasting my time on a free but inferior app. Thus, $10 isn’t just an investment in the Amazing Slow Downer; it’s buying myself time.

So…yeah, word of mouth.


January 15, 2019

#146) You can’t give it away #4: “I’ll catch the next one” (Why we don’t give a #*@! about discounts)

couponsPhoto: BessieSpin

Limited Time! Act Now! Offer Expires Soon!

It’s been done.

Recently I was offered a 20% discount on an annual membership renewal. Since my membership wasn’t ready to expire for another four months, I started an email to the company to ask if, since the coupon code was only valid for two days, I could apply the discount to my future renewal. When I saw that the email was sent from a “do not reply” rather than go online and research the correct address for such inquiries, I decided it would be more fun to write a blog post about why I decided to leave my 20% discount on the table.

A friend of mine whose father is on his fourth marriage quipped that when her dad asked her if she was going to come to the wedding, she said, “Nah, I’ll just catch the next one.” The same can be said of discounts. How many times have we received an email or seen an ad with a “you can’t afford to miss this” offer, only to see some variation of the same promotion the next week? With all of the competition for our time, attention and money, are we going to drop everything and buy a unicorn horn for our cat because it’s 15% off Today Only? As this article notes, “[It] becomes increasingly difficult to convince consumers they need to make a purchase right then and there when they are offered countless limited time bargains day after day, many of which resemble one another.”

That’s not to say discounts don’t have their place, if done effectively. The website WebFX suggests offering discounts to show appreciation, not to retain customers: “Have some clients left you for a cheaper service provider? Are you afraid you might get rejected if you ask for what you’re worth? These sorts of reasons [for offering a discount] can greatly undervalue your skill, time or effort.” This article about discounting suggests doing 4 major promotions per year and not to show the same ad to everyone: “Someone who already bought your product doesn’t need to be notified you are running a discount.”

My response is a variation to this last point: since I was planning on renewing my membership anyways, the discount was moot. However, a customized email – I have been with this company for close to a decade – sent from an address to which I could respond directly might have made me want to engage more with them instead of running to my blog. The company in question provides a service that I want, regardless of the price. Would a 20% discount have been nice? Sure. But I’ll just catch the next one.