Admark’s Weblog

Anaesthetizing pain?

Posted on: August 14, 2008

Okay the situation of inflation is glum, in India, that is. But the FMCG companies are showing some 32 teeth on their wide faces. Everyone is experiencing double digit growth rates including that behemoth HUL. Anyways cutting to brass-tacks, here is the low down. Customers are down-trading on certain categories typically which are not amenable to “value calculations” and not down-trading on other “value conscious” categories. But at the same time consumer spending is not going south, YET.

But what is the relation to anesthetizing pain? Read this –

[Consumers are] not weighing the current gratification vs. future gratifications. They experience an immediate pang of pain [when they think of how much they have to pay for something]. That perspective has a lot of implications. For example, it helps to explain why credit cards encourage people to spend; they anesthetize the pain. – From neurosciencemarketing

What does this imply for machinations during these times when inevitable price increase across certain categories is being seen already? Well first one –

· Forget individual transactions, they cause more pain.

· Focus on single price for multiple items

Bole toh? Every time I, imagine me being a family man, go to buy my favourite biscuit I see and say “kitna costly ho gaya hai, kuch aur sasta khareedte hain”. So instead if I am offered something, larger, which covers my consumption for few weeks hiding the increased costs behind the larger pack I might buy it.

Offer bigger packs in times of inflation and probably the other way round during normal times, that is.

Bigger packs of not just the same items but similar items as well [bundling ?]


PS – I love the word “anaesthetize”. I think thats the reason why modern warfare works better medieval warfare, discounting for the impact of technology. More on that and marketing later.


3 Responses to "Anaesthetizing pain?"

Interesting thoughts.
Big packs makes sense. But this needs to be packed by lot of communication efforts to pursuade consumers to buy bigger packs.

Bigger packs in inflationary times – isnt this the opposite of what FMCG cos are actually trying out. I believe they are currently betting on smaller SKUs so that the near term damage to the consumer’s wallet is lesser. Whether this is working or not is anybody’s guess.

The whole point here being to shield the consumer’s wallet from the rising prices by coaxing him to buy larger SKUs. By selling smaller SKUs aren’t companies hurting their wallet ever more and by the way increasing the number of single transactions that hurt even more?
Any answers or thoughts ?

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