Anticipation: How Waiting Creates Value


The very word conjures up images of…ketchup?

Maybe. While I did have a hamburger for lunch (awesome by the way, thanks to Rhea’s) this post is not about condiments.

Anticipation can be a mouth-watering wait. It’s also a powerful concept for marketers and business strategists.

Wait for it…

Yes, we’ve all been there. Counting the days, squirming in our shoes. Jumping up and down. Anticipating something great that’s about to come our way.

Some of you are experiencing that feeling right now. It’s almost time for another iPhone release. Snapshots of the latest version are leaking into the media, giving a glimpse of what’s to come. Do you want it?

Anticipation and its close cousin, scarcity, often team up to create value in offers that otherwise wouldn’t be there.¬†Internet marketers are masters at combining the two. Even though we don’t think we’ll fall for it, the promises are enticing:

“Just three more days until you can register for our best ever workshop!”

“Be sure to sign up today, space is limited…”

“Call now so you don’t miss out.”

Mounting anticipation brings out the competitive nature in people. The longer they wait, the more they fear missing out. The more they worry about not getting what has been longed for, the more likely they are to invest greater and greater amounts of money to get that special thing.

If the price is extra low, buyers will go to great lengths to get in on the deal. Shoppers rising at 3am the morning after Thanksgiving in simple anticipation of a deal are a perfect example.

How can you use anticipation in your business?

You certainly don’t want to unfairly manipulate customers, but you can and should appeal to their unmet desires. Offering a taste of what’s to come is one way waiting creates value:

  • Have your buyers have been waiting for a sought-after product feature? Why not let them know it’s on the way in the next release?
  • If you’re planning an event, generate some excitement about the upcoming speakers, exclusive access to thought leaders or the high quality of the venue.
  • Are you introducing something your competitors can’t deliver? Use anticipation to create pent-up demand and even encourage prospects to plan ahead for a switch to your company.

Whatever the good news, “talking it up” in advance creates the anticipation you need to attract media attention, capture buyers imaginations, and even interest investors.

Used well, the concept of anticipation can buoy prices, accelerate sales and expand brand value.

Now, wasn’t that worth the wait?


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