A Little Piece Of Plastic With Tremendous Marketing Power

Gift cards are a stroke of marketing genius. This may not be uncommon knowledge, but since you probably received at least one gift card in the last few days, I thought I would outline the usefulness of a gift card for a company.

Now, gift cards are not as beneficial to you, as they are to their creators. Cash, if you are in the right country for it to be applicable, is acceptable in all stores—barring strange outliers. It is infinitely more useable.

But, to a company, gift cards are brilliant. They do something, several things, which is ultra-beneficial to them. Elevating the simple present way above its unassuming exterior.

The first is that it cements a brand. Even if you prefer a small mom-and-pop shop, or have inexplicably never gone to the store you got a gift card from before, you must now if you want to claim the present. Best Buy on Drew Street, Target in Clearwater Mall, Barnes And Noble on Sunset Point, these stores you may (somehow) never have set foot in before, yet now you must interact with their brands and marketing. It may even make you a regular customer.

And, though the money from the card is not new cash, the gift card also incentivizes spending more money at that establishment—especially if the card is for a smaller amount of currency.

As an example, if you are at, say, a Red Lobster and your card is for twenty dollars, and you take your family with you, you will assuredly spend more than the card’s value—just based on the usual prices at that restaurant. And, thus, you give them even more money than the card is worth. And you wouldn’t have even put yourself in such a situation without the card itself to get you in the door.

A Gift Card Sale Is Also An Act Of Promotional Marketing

No matter how frugal you might be, it is way easier to end up splurging if you feel the reward is big enough, or if you feel the lack of a full brunt of a cost. It’s the same trick that a massive sale pulls. Macy’s and Steam and so many others use the same method. You end up spending more than you might with normal prices.  Buying more things, moving more merchandise, getting the stores out of the red. Because you perceive it as personally beneficial—as a victory. As a reward. It’s a classic trick of marketing.

Now with all that said, gift cards are still gifts—above all. Acts of kindness from someone: a friend, a family member, a significant other, who cares enough to get you one. It’s not as sinister as I may make it sound. Don’t not use it on principal. It’s just good, clever marketing. And, spending a gift card is a lovely additional portion to any holiday season’s events. Another wave of gifts after the ones you received from Santa and/or all the people you celebrate with. Even if all it is, is a little treat one day from a bakery or coffee shop.

So: enjoy. Have fun with it.

‘Tis the season, after all.

If you liked this article, you can read more of Brandon Scott’s work on The Hive, or at his website: www.coolerbs.com