Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

FE, Education & Business Marketing: Quick, Effective, Low Cost Marketing

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

Category: Advertising

The Science of Ignorance: Agnotology

The Science of Not Knowing, Ignorance or Not Knowing is Common… But Shouldn't Be


"I didn't know" is a poor excuse, but we are all guilty of it to a greater or lesser extent. Technically Agnotology is the culturally induced lack of knowledge or about doubt. It was coined in 1995 and is often the result of digging deeper, learning more but ending up more confused the more you read. It can also result from reading too much Fake News!


Agnotology is not to be confused with Ainigmology which is about using information to confuse .. the tobacco companies have been accused of this in the past. 


But I'm not concerned with either one of these. I'm more concerned about the number of us that don't bother to keep informed. I've heard " I didn't know" so many times. 


People say things to me like, "I didn't know our advertising wasn't working", "I didn't know our website wasn't working", "I didn't know online sales had dropped".

There is no excuse for any of us not knowing the essentials of our own business. 

Information is freely available on a screen to tell us if online sales have dropped or if our adverts aren't working. We only have to look!There are dozens of free marketing tools available that will keep us informed.  



Why Most Advertising Doesn’t Work

Why most advertising doesn't workIt’s True. Most Advertising Doesn’t Work


Most of it fails totally because the basic rules have been broken. 

Even the Experts Get It Wrong


For example, the full page advert on this page is from the News Media Association. It breaks virtually every rule in the Advertising Book. And if they can’t get it right then what chance do you have? 


Well, the good news is that you can do better than these guys. For the price of a cup of coffee, you can learn the Advertising Secrets that the sales reps don’t want you to know about. 


Understanding the Value of Price

Bread at this price proves price isn't a deterrent if you position it correctlyLow Prices Say Cheap & Nasty, Higher Prices Say Quality


OK, that a generalisation and there is a place for piling it high and selling it cheap. But generally speaking, people don’t buy on price alone. They also need to trust a brand. For example, if you buy some glue to make a repair, you expect the glue to work. So if you have to choose between a well-known brand and a cheaper unknown brand. There is a risk with buying the cheaper on here. Trusting the brand is important in this situation. The higher price buys you more than a tube of glue. It buys trust as well. 

It’s easy for a retailer or a freelancer to believe that the best way to succeed is to be cheap. But just about every important brand (and every successful freelancer) didn’t get that way by being the cheapest. They offered more than low prices. Low prices will always be beaten by a competitor with lower overheads .. maybe from another country or with better technology. 

How to Negotiate Online

How to negotiate 20% discounts from online and email offers
Click to Enlarge

Negotiating Online is Relevant When We Are Offered Upgrades or Renewals by Email or Online


It’s quite easy to negotiate 20%, or more when offered an upgrade or renewal via email or other online method.


For example, a well-known satnav company recently sent me a reminder that my software was due for renewal. The cost was £49.50. 


I wasn’t prepared to pay this amount so I ignored the upgrade offer and considered my options. 


The software expired and I had no “live services” software running .. just maps and routes. It left me without info on traffic jams and that is the part I make most use of. 


My option was to use my phone and the satnav app I had on it. 


But the company wanted a second chance to offer me the satnav system and sent out another email.



This time they offered me approx 20% discount.  Why do this? Probably because their view was that they either lost a sale or made one at a lower profit margin. And of course it was December and their year-end might be approaching.


I bought the renewal and obtained a 20% discount  .. all without actually negotiating.


How do discounts affect profits? 

If you are thinking of using this tactic, beware. 

Let’s imagine the profit margin for the software is 40%. By offering 20% they have halved their profit. And on occasion, I’ve seen discounts that mean the product or service is sold at a lost. Of course, that means that competitors don’t get market share .. but it does cost money. 

The profit margins bite harder when the product or service entails real cost to provide. Whereas it could be argued that a software download costs (virtually) nothing to provide so margins are more flexible. 


What could you negotiate online?


How would you deal with this sale if you were the retailer?