#48: Discounting Done Right
The winning formula behind Londre's premium-preserving pricing campaign
Discounting your price is a dangerous sport.
Promotions and discounting are often conflated, so I want to start by distinguishing between the two.
A discount is when you slash the price of your product (ie. 25% off). A promotion is when you offer additional value (ie. buy today and get the product plus access to something extra).
Promotions can be used effectively to drive urgency; discounting almost always leads to bad behavior and the mismanagement of customer expectations.
Take Banana Republic as an example. They mark products down by 40% so often, I won’t shop there unless there’s a sale. By continuously getting me to buy at 40% off, I now believe the value of their products to be 40% lower than the list price.
This week, I came across a discounting campaign that stood out - it was persuasive and value-packed without diminishing the premium brand.
In today’s edition, we’re going to break down the campaign and see what lessons we can apply to our own work as product marketers.
Let’s get shopping analyzing!
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Londre’s Pricing Playbook
Earlier this week, my friend sent me a campaign from a swimwear brand we both love called Londre.
They were advertising a massive sale with products discounted by 70%. As you already know, I generally don’t believe in discounting.
But, this time I was impressed. Why?
✨ They showed vulnerability and asked for help
✨ The sale served a bigger purpose - and they were clear about the tradeoff
✨ They reinforced social trust to ensure it was still perceived as premium
Here’s my teardown of their campaign, swipe by swipe.
Manage expectations early - This will be uncomfortable but honest. The reason this opening works for Londre is they have spent years building an honest brand. So when they say they’re being honest, their customers trust them.
Build social proof (and suspense) - Before getting to the details of the sale, they reinforce that Londre is a premium brand using social proof. It’s worn by popular celebrities. It has 1,000 5-star reviews. This is brilliant because not only are they supporting their premium claim, they are building tension in the narrative. The reader is bought in now - we need to know why they are running the sale (something most high-priced brands don’t do).
Provide clear & compelling context - Nobody could argue with the rationale provided by Londre. We all know businesses who have in one way or another been impacted by the environment and economic factors listed. It just makes sense. The one argument against this rationale could be, why them? If all businesses are impacted, why should we help them and not other businesses? The answer - most other businesses don’t have the courage to ask for help.
Explain the situation - Londre gets right to the point - they’re in a tight financial position. I take this to mean they’re short on cash. If that’s the case, they have a few options - discount their products, raise money, take a loan, etc. The one thing I think might have helped would be to share a tangible goal - what do they need to achieve and by when? People love to rally around a target. For example, “we need to clear out 50% of our current stock by December”.
Share the mission - The Londre brand is rooted in sustainability. To date, they’ve recycled over 1 million plastic bottles off of beaches into their sustainable offerings (each swimsuit has a minimum of 6 recycled plastic bottles). They have impact. This mission is bigger than the business itself, and serves to unite a community of shoppers who share the same values. By leaning into this mission they’re able to encourage action from that community.
Build empathy - This isn’t just about Londre. They recognize that many people are feeling tight right now and they try to build empathy with their audience by acknowledging this.
Reinforce this is short-term - Finally, they introduce a solution that helps both Londre and their shoppers - a temporary sale. They smartly position the proceeds of the sale as the antidote to their financial troubles. And they make it clear that this is just a bump in the road, not something to get used to.
The big question is, can all brands pull this off?
The answer is yes and no. What I love most about Londre’s campaign is that it’s authentic. They’ve spent years building a brand, and now they can leverage that brand in times of need.
But we can’t forget, this works because of Londre’s brand. Somewhere there’s a CEO saying that investing in brand will never pay off. The next time you hear that, send them this email.
Now, who needs a new bathing suit?
📚 Reading List: The power of community reminds me of Tribes by Seth Godin - an oldie but a goodie
💸 Events: I’m hosting a free pricing webinar with the Product Marketing Alliance. Join me November 15th at 9am PST to learn how to price like a pro
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