It made me feel clever, assuming I discovered the secret about their product before they had. But as I thought about it, I realized they had used reverse psychology on me. Those clever marketers had worked an elaborate plan of infiltrating my consciousness with positive thoughts using public relations.
Over three months, I had read several articles in reputable publications. The information seemed to have been "leaked," or rather, that some enterprising journalist had unearthed jewels the company wasn't ready to talk about. I found myself anticipating the product and went to a store where I thought it might be.
The clerk in the first store had no idea what I was talking about and insisted it didn't exist. The second store knew about it because it had gotten advance notice, but it wouldn't be on store shelves for six months. Three months later, I started to see advertising. The first week, I saw one ad, the second week, three or four. By the third week, I had seen or heard advertisements for the product about a million times. I thought, "this must be available now, because why would a company spend so much money on advertising if it weren't available?"
I called the store, but it wasn't in yet. They asked me if I wanted to purchase one on my credit card and receive a voucher via e-mail. My card wouldn't be charged until it was shipped or I picked it up. I could hardly wait to plunk down my money.
Finally, when I came to my "marketing-expert senses," I realized what had happened. An anonymous marketer, much smarter than I, had created awareness through PR, desire through advertising and an advanced sale that cemented his ability to sell his product to the merchant I bought it from, in larger quantities than he might otherwise have ordered.
I'm humbled and impressed.
Andrea Fitting is CEO of Fitting Group, a Pittsburgh-based agency that specializes in helping companies transition to deregulated markets.