Why I Gave Up Scarcity Marketing

Funny story, I almost posted this yesterday.  April 1st.  But this isn’t a joke, so I figured I’d wait.  Timing is everything after all…Carrying on…

A few weeks back I wrote a ‘statement’ in my facebook community and made the declaration public in a number of other communities.  I had it.  I was ready.  I was done.

“I’m doing something radical….

I’m saying ‘eff it’ to scarcity marketing. I am not going to say “THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO WORK WITH ME” unless it truly is. I’m not building programs with countdowns.

If you want to work with me, there will be a way. I’m opening the MB3 Mastermind and MB3 Laboratory to be rolling admission programs. Will I still have launches? YES! But they will be soul-filled and divine.

I’m done with playing the online marketing games.

Join me?”

This was a huge leap for me. (I’ll explain why in a second.)

And my leap was met with a ton of joyous from the rooftops accolades on my posts in various forums.  But the behind the scenes messages?  Pretty darn ugly.  I received just over a dozen emails, messages, and PMs on twitter.  DOOMSDAY messages.

“Without scarcity, a timed launch, etc you’ll never sell anything!  Are you crazy?”

“You’re going to decrease your total revenue!  YOU’RE INSANE!”

“You’re an economist from NYU!  You DO know that scarcity affects perceptions and people’s desires to buy, right?”

And on and on.

Here’s the thing, I am indeed a trained economist.  And as such, this is a relatively radical move.

I’ll be transparent here…Myself, my loans, the institutions I’ve attended (by way of scholarships), my grandmother, and my parents have collectively spent well over a quarter of a million dollars for me to learn that scarcity sells, affects demand, and shifts people’s perceptions of a product.

*Pushes nerd glasses over nose*  Here is what I know to be true in economics: Scarcity is a measure of supply (how much there is of something), and when there is a scarce supply the demand (how much people want something) goes UP.  And often, people will buy things solely because it is scarce.  And if it scarce you can charge a premium price because of it’s scarcity.


Ultimately, scarcity plays on the notion that people want things that are scarce, which translates to mo’ money for the business owner.


So why–despite being a well-trained economist, marketer, and business coach who knows it sells programs at a higher price point, and rate of sales–did I shift my perception?


Because scarcity felt like a lie, gave me a case of the ‘icks’, and is totally is out of whack with my clientele and my message of bliss.


Here’s the thing:  None of my programs are scarce.

Ok, that isn’t 100% true.  My one-on-one availability is scarce because of my time.  Totally and utterly scarce, and I regularly book out a few months in advance.  But guess what?  I haven’t had to market that really.  I have a well-oiled machine and intake system.

But what about my group programs?

They are ultimately ‘infinite’ in how many people I am willing to support.  And, they aren’t currently full because of that.  I don’t have a cap on them.  At all.    Which means by selling it from a place of scarcity I’m point blank lying to my client. And lying to a client feels icky.  That brings us to….

It felt icky, and I knew I could do better

I’ve watched with awe and shock for a few years at the online marketing world.  Being that I am a trained marketer and economist I see regularly companies being incredibly disingenuous with their scarcity tactics, and I commonly take a critical eye to them.

Example:  A software I’ve been using for awhile has a sales page that ALWAYS has a countdown saying you have x amount of hours left to buy, but the timer resets every few days.  I bought it, because I needed it.  And laughed every time I considered it solely because of the countdown.  EVEN with my eye it worked.

But, once I was a customer it just pissed me off.  Seeing the same price with countdowns week after week (I have to go to their homepage to log into the product) made me almost pissed I purchased it.  These days, I’m pretty careful of products I buy…I make sure their marketing fits me which brings me to alignment…


It didn’t feel in alignment with my work or my audience

Much of the coaching world spends a lot of their time coaching people out of a scarcity mindset, only to cajole them into programs that falsify a notion of scarcity?  Anyone else see why that is a bit whack?  (Click to tweet)

(I myself spend 20% of my time on this, so scarcity marketing just flat out doesn’t make sense).

Enough of my work is all about helping them believe in the power of their work, and that there are enough clients for them.  Selling to them like my stuff is going out of style, or running out tomorrow felt off.  Very off.

So this begs the question:  What am I doing instead?

Selling from the heart

I have programs.  You can buy them if you want.  If you don’t want to, that’s fine.  If you don’t want it without the gimmicks, you aren’t my ideal client.  My message is listening to your inner compass, finding your bliss, and doing your dream work in the world in a way that is in alignment with your joy/body/bliss/etc.  So if a potential client digs that, then they sign up.  (And they do often, even without scarcity)

Offering opportunities for bonuses

Yes, technically this is still scarcity, as the bonuses are only around for a limited time.  But what I am offering you is an incentive to buy sooner rather than later, not an ultimatum of buy this now or else.  

And incentives are totally in alignment with my belief system, are totally mired in economics, and also work without the ick factor.  In fact it feels darn good to say ‘join now, get extras’ because extras feel darn good.

Building my community on Facebook and on my list

The larger my reach, the less I have to market.  Almost all of my clients come through referrals, guest blogs, or from my community.  People find me in a myriad of ways, but often click ‘buy now’ when they are ready, without me being a pushy marketing queen.


The best part of all this?  These in alignment growth tactics work.

My clientele has doubled in the past month because of this not so subtle shift.  And perhaps I could have made more money if I combined scarcity with the above tactics, but I’ll never know.  And I have no interest in knowing.  Because this is what feels good for my business.

And ultimately, that is all that matters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Applause, Impact, and What They Say ::

  • “Hire Makenna to speak at your event, if you want your audience to have prompts to look deeper into themselves and the ways of operating that are not serving themselves or the greater good + someone who is honest and real.”

    — Allison Braun, The Business Joyologist
  • “Makenna knows how to orchestrate an event. This was a mother effin symphony. Every detail, every moment, every speaker, (did I mention the massages during check-in?!), filled with intention. I felt so taken care of. This is a mandatory event for my business. I will attend as long as she’s keen on hosting them!”

    — Lindsay Padilla, Academics Mean Business