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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Feature-Tease Durable Link to this BLOG
Feature-Tease is Bad for Business

What is Feature-Tease?

These days it has become very common for service providers to entice customers by giving glimpses of features (also called premier versions)  that the customers don't have, in the hope that customers would want them, and would pay for them. This is called Feature-tease.

First, a story from India (that's where I learnt most of my lessons): In our family shop where we sell clothes, if  a customer comes in to buy a product, say under ten bucks, he is never shown products that cost more than twelve bucks. The idea is that if the customer likes a product that he cannot afford, then he is not going to be satisfied with the product he eventually buys. I think it is very true.  What is worse is that the customer might not buy anything today.

Now enter consumerism,where every product is available to anyone who wishes to try a hand on it. The critics review them, magazines compare them, and people with bigger wallets buy better products. That's a given, and we understand how it works.

Feature-tease comes in when the vendor tries to seduce the buyer into buying something in the nick of time, or into something that the consumer wouldn't have bought otherwise. It's like selling life insurance at airport check-in counter, or Hotmail asking you to upgrade when your mailbox becomes full, with "See what you are Missing" messages. It has become so rampant that we don't even think about it.

Imagine the car telling you at a stop light, "If you spent $5000 and upgrade your engine you can reach 60 mph in four seconds, instead of the eight it takes right now", or  the wife telling "I should have married Dave". That's feature-tease. It is a reminder of what you don't have.

IMO, feature-tease is very offensive and hence very bad for business. Most strategists don't realize this and engage in aggressive feature-teasing.

Feature teasing is different from impulse-selling.  Catering to impulse-buying habits is indirect marketing;  feature-teasing is a direct approach, and  a lousy one at that.

More business advice from the trenches:

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, January 23, 2003
Last Modified: 1/23/2003
Tags: bizwise

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