September 10, 2014 - Gregg Blanchard
Let's take a closer look at something we're seeing more…and more…and more.
At first it was just one resort, but this year I've already spotted a handful who have used that now familiar phrase – “lowest guaranteed price” – in their marketing messages.
To get to the heart of the matter, we need to look at all the ways this could be written.
This means just what it says it means. Simple as that. We may expand this by saying, “this is the lowest price you will get.”
Guaranteed Lowest Price
Then, us marketers added “guaranteed” to reinforce this fact. By placing it before the “lowest price” combo, it leaves little room for doubt. We may rewrite and expand this as, “We guarantee this is the lowest price you will get.”
Lowest Price, Guaranteed
The same effect comes by placing it at the end. This version could be expanded as, “This is the lowest price you will get, we guarantee it.”
Lowest Guaranteed Price
But here's where things get tricky.
By placing the guarantee reference between “lowest” and “price” we create a small loophole while preserving most of the original perceived meaning. We might expand this as, “This is the lowest price we will guarantee you'll get.”
This ties the guarantee to the price but NOT to the “lowest” superlative. It's like saying “lowest red price” or “lowest beautiful price”. A red price, beautiful price, or guaranteed price could be identical in actual dollars and cents to the any other price.
The power in this comes from the power of deadlines.
Deadlines create urgency. Urgency makes people act. It makes people buy things. For example, compare the percentage of total sales that happen on the first day of a pass sale vs the day before a deadline:
Placing the word “guarantee” in the middle opens the door for additional deadlines which, if the cards are played right, can drive extra sales.
But it's a fine line to walk. Because if we see this phrase in May at a certain price:
Less than 24hrs to get Spring Benefits w/ the Epic Pass! $49 down to lock your pass at the lowest guaranteed price! http://t.co/74jCLGmhKe— Beaver Creek Resort (@beavercreekmtn) May 27, 2013
And we keep seeing it through the summer and into the fall and the price hasn't changed:
The game is up. The vagueness transforms into a more firm idea that the price doesn't change even though it might. And if that happens, adios to the power of the deadline it is used on.