skip to Main Content

Face it, you couldn’t resist reading this. After all, who knows what you could be missing if you don’t? The thought of something expiring or being taken away from us invokes our most basic primal response. Now more than ever, marketers use scarcity to creatively tap into this epicenter for behavior and emotion.

Scarcity can be invoked with time, money, offers, products—you name it. And when it is used responsibly, scarcity can have a big impact on whether or not a customer will respond to what’s being offered.


Let’s take scarcity of an offer, for example.

Imagine an offer that says, “Get $20 off your purchase of $100 or more.” Customers will likely perceive 20% off as a good deal, perhaps even good enough to take advantage of it. However, there’s no indication of an expiration date, implying that this offer is good anytime—so perhaps if the customer isn’t currently in the market for the product being offered, they may choose to put off making a purchase decision.


Now let’s add the scarcity of time to this offer.

“Hurry! Visit a store before November 14th to get $20 off your purchase of $100 or more!” Making the offer time-sensitive creates a sense of urgency. And because there is a risk that the customer might not be able to take advantage of the offer for much longer, we’ve given them a reason to think twice about making their purchase decision.

We can apply the same tactic to a product along with time. “Hurry! Visit a store before July 14th to get $20 off your purchase of $100 or more while supplies last—only 100 units left!” Not only does this leave the customer feeling there’s a risk of not getting a great deal, but if they don’t make the purchase well before the expiration date, there might not be any product left to buy.

When creating any marketing campaign, whether an offer is provided or not, using the scarcity of time and creating a sense of urgency can only help drive your customers to respond and make a purchase decision. It’s easy to add scarcity to any campaign, it is FREE, and it’s something that should always be considered.


If you’re interested in adding direct mail to your marketing mix, then drop us a line. We’re standing by to answer any questions, and, most importantly, to help you get your mail opened.

Client relations guru and direct mail advocate. As an account manager for Gunderson, Mike manages over 72MM pieces of direct mail annually. When he’s not delighting clients, Mike nerds out on the latest tech, not to mention oversharing pictures of his cats – though his wife doesn’t seem to mind.