Post Holiday Sales Slump? Here’s How The Toy Companies Cash In Like Donald Trump

120927052132-gallery-hot-toys-thomas-gallery-horizontalI have to say, this is probably one of the most brilliant marketing tactics I have ever read about, but I have to warn you. If you have kids you buy presents for during the Holiday Season, or Worse in January, this might make you seething mad. Brilliant and Manipulative.

The truth is, much of this strategy is actually quite obvious and won’t seem that fundamentally brilliant until you fully understand the psychology behind it. Speaking of psychology, I am in middle of Reading Robert Cialdini’s book, “Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion.” and like Robert, one of the things that makes me an expert on the topic is that I always fall for these tactics. I find myself reaching into my wallet when I had no plans on spending any money too many times, so I am finally glad there is a book that gives me a great glimpse into the workings of my brain, and how it is trying to break my bank. (More on this another time.)

The problem is obvious, Parents spend a fortune on holiday shopping, especially on toys to quiet their nagging kids, so it’s no shocker that January is slump season for toy companies. No matter how much their kids nag, parents are not in the mode of spending money on expensive toys after an expensive Holiday Season. Yet, these brilliant toy companies found a way to get you back in the store, spending a fortune, without the big costs associated with sales, or extra advertising.

Before getting into the meat and potatoes, you should understand a fundamental rule about people as I learned in the Robert Cialdini book is the STRONG NEED TO BE (OR APPEAR) CONSISTENT WITH PREVIOUS BEHAVIOR.  If you want to understand how and why this works, you can read his book, but for now that’s all you need to know. Anyone who can figure out how to lead someones need to be consistent to reach into their pocket and give you their money, can milk that strategy for all it’s worth. Here is how the Toy companies do it.

Step 1:Advertise a Hot New Toy During the Holiday Season, and undersupply stores to create tremendous scarcity. This obviously makes people desire the item more because people want what they can’t have, and their kids will nag them a ton so they can be the cool kid in school who got the toy everyone wanted. (This is the Obvious Part).

Step 2: Kids Beg Parents for Hot New Toy. 

Step 3: Parents Promise Kid Hot New Toy For Christmas. 

Step 4:Parents Go To Store, Store is Sold Out. Parents overcompensate with expensive alternatives to appease kid. 

Step 5: Comes January, Stores Start Advertising again Hot New Toy is Back in Stock, and Make Sure There is Plenty of Supply. 

Step 6: Kid Nags Parent For Toy, and Says, “BUT YOU PROMISED.”

Step 7: LAW of CONSISTENCY Kicks In… and Parents want to remain consistent with their previous decision/promise… to buy Hot New Toy for Kid, even though they already spent a fortune on Holidays. 

Here’s the Kicker Though, even if you understand this tactic, and realize that the stores were manipulating you deliberately, getting you to promise your kids something you couldn’t deliver until after the Holidays… You still have no choice but to buy them the toy because… “You Want To Teach Your Kids The Importance of KEEPING YOUR PROMISES.” 

So, while i thought scarcity was simply a tactic to create urgency to act to overcome the natural inclination to procrastinate a purchase decision, it seems that scarcity around high demand times, and than releasing during slump season can prove very profitable…

How can you apply this tactic to your business?

About David Melamed

David Melamed is the Founder of Tenfold Traffic, a search and content marketing agency with over $50,000,000 of paid search experience and battle tested results in content development, premium content promotion and distribution, Link Profile Analysis, Multinational/Multilingual PPC and SEO, and Direct Response Copywriting.


  1. […] references many other books, studies and resources, so while it won’t quite replace reading Cialdini, Hopkins or Ogilvy, it will give you taste of what you need to […]

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.