Everyone wants to feel special. As a result, exclusivity is a clever ploy used to lure people to subscribe to a service or buy a product. Just ask those select members of Bernard L. Madoff’s investment community.
Bernard L. Madoff might go down in history as the greatest Ponzi schemer of all time, thanks to his $65 billion fraudulent investment enterprise. Compared to most Ponzi artists, who prey on a growing supply of fresh, ignorant victims to keep their scheme rolling, Madoff swindled rich people by implementing an exclusivity strategy. He positioned himself as a financial snob closing his fund to new investors. Accordingly, individuals interested in joining his circle would need a special introduction. Even after he accepted people’s money, “Uncle Bernie”, as he was called by his peers, would maintain an air of reluctance, conning people into starting with small investments the first year or two, yielding large returns, before he hooked them for big bucks. Everyone felt special – they were a member of “Uncle Bernie’s” exclusive club.
The exclusivity strategy can also be utilized when marketing consumer goods. Nike has capitalized on this strategy with exclusive sneaker releases. Their most successful being NBA superstar LeBron James’s Zoom series – 3,000 to 5,000 pairs per edition retailing at $140. Like any collectibles, these sneakers will end up selling for a higher price than their original store price, based on condition, rarity and Lebron’s star power. The ultimate Nike sneaker will be released in the fourth quarter of 2009, the “Gucci” themed Dunk High that has been in the hopper since 2006. Right now there are less than 30 pairs in existence, but soon they will be available at select Nike accounts.
Sounds like it is time for me to join the exclusive Nike club, shop on E-Bay to see if I can track down my own pair of “Gucci” Dunk Highs, size 9.