The company that outsmarted my basic Marketing instincts

As a company, your main goal is to sell your products. As a customer, your main goal is to get the best deals at the lowest prices.

However, while companies are heavily focused on designing a great marketing strategy and implementing clever psychological tricks to get you buying their products, customers are getting smarter and harder to get tricked every day.

But sometimes, they fall into the trap.

Now as a person who works in the field of Marketing, I sometimes act from a company’s perspective, participating in the creation of the Marketing strategy to make people buy our product.

But in the majority of my time, I am a consumer, and I act as such, hunting for the best deals at the lowest prices. But I do this with something in mind: consciousness about the psychological reasons behind every business decision.

And, as a consumer and a Marketer, I still manage to fall into the trap every once in a while.

Today, I will share with you a situation in which a company successfully messed up with my mind to get me buy their products.

The ”More expensive is less expensive” philosophy – The Sims Freeplay

Disclaimer: I absolutely love The Sims Freeplay. My goal isn’t to criticize its business decision – my goal is to educate you on being conscious about your purchase decisions and choices.

I don’t consider myself a gamer – in fact, I barely play any games at all. But when I play a game, I play hardcore. So let me tell you something about a game that I have been playing quite a lot recently – the mobile version of The Sims, The Sims Freeplay.

The Sims Freeplay is a Freemium mobile game – meaning that it is free to download and play, but you can make in-app purchases.

The Sims Freeplay uses 3 different currencies to buy houses, furniture, clothes, and accessories. The yellow one, which you can see on the image above, is called Life Points or LP – and they are quite expensive to get. So sometimes, when I feel like it, I make in – app purchases to buy LP points.

Now if you notice, 15 LP points cost 3 euros, but 40 LP cost 6 euros – basically, you get almost 3 times more LP points for only twice the price – sounds like a deal, right?

But then, if you take a look at the box of LP points, you get 60 Life points more for only 4 euros more! In other words, the more expensive an option gets, the less expensive it seems in proportion to the amount of Life points you get.

That’s why every time I go to The Sims Freeplay store to buy Life points, my thoughts go like this:

  • At the 15 LP option: 3 euros seems quite a lot for only 15 Life points – I should buy a more expensive option;
  • At the 40 LP option: I get 40 life points for only twice the price, but…look at the next option! For only 4 euros more, I get 60 life points more! Now this seems like a deal!…
  • At the 100 LP option: this is definitely a great shot! But for only 5 euros more, I get 250% more life points, how awesome is that?
  • At the 250 LP option: now that I am willing to pay 15 euros for 250 LP, why not pay only 5 euros more to get DOUBLE the amount I am getting? I can do plenty of stuff with 500 life points!

And this point during my in-app purchase decision, I realize that I’ve increased the initial amount I was planning to pay – 3 euros, to the much more significant amount of 20 euros (there are more expensive options but I have never bought them).

While it may not seem like that much money, it actually is – especially for a mobile game. And because I love this game, sometimes I end up paying the 20 euros because I think it’s such a great proportion to the 500 life points (1 euro gets you 25 life points) I get in comparison to the 3-point-option (1 euro gets you 5 life points).

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want you to be conscious about your purchase decisions. Many companies use this psychological method not only for in-app purchases, but also for subscription plans, tricking you into buying more of the product than you initially planned to (or for longer period of time).

And I’m not implying that these companies are the bad guys: on the contrary, it’s actually a great and cheaper method if the customer really wants the bigger quantity of the product.

An example with Stressfree Recipes: Isn’t it great that you save some dollars here by buying the 6-month subscription plan?

Just be conscious about your purchase decisions and decide for yourself whether you are actually saving money or not when choosing the “more expensive – less expensive” subscription plan.

If you are planning to use a website or a product for six months, go for it, and save some money in the meantime – but if you aren’t, don’t buy it just because it seems cheaper in proportion, because it might result being more expensive in the long run.

I hope you enjoyed this article, stay tuned for more!

Ani Miteva

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