Glossy Product Brochures - Why the policy against clear product differentiation?

It is a notable feature of standard “glossy brochures” (or websites) that they are designed not to state in simple terms what the difference is between their products.

While one can (rarely) find a simple table that compares features, this tends to be buried, if it is present at all.

More typically, the most expensive model is described as fabulous, the middle model is described as great and the low end model as wonderful. If there is some sort of breezy spec, it’s usually written in prose that makes it slow and confusing to try to work out exactly which feature it is that the low end model is missing, for example.

I have just been looking at a site for booking accommodation in London. It’s a glossy brochure site that someone has put a lot of time and effort into. There are two single room types. Standard and Premier. There is a significant price difference. There is a page containing descriptions and photographs of each of these room types. The photographs are the same for each type. The text is jumbled around a little but is actually exactly the same in content for each room. There is simply no way to know why I would choose a premier room.

It puzzles me because at first consideration I would have thought that the obvious way to get someone to buy the more expensive room or widget is to tell a potential customer in simple terms what the difference is. But clearly this isn’t correct.

I know that people study the psychology of marketing very very closely and that there will be a reason that glossy brochures are done this way. We must have someone here who writes copy for them or whatever who knows. What is the reason?

No cite, but if you present clear factual product differences and then show the price difference, people will evaluate directly if the added value is worth the added price. If you build a nebulous idea of getting something premium without providing clear product differentiation it will be much more difficult for a potential customer to valuate it appropriately – as such they are more likely to think they are getting more for their money then they actually are.

Bump for a non-election day. We must have someone who has studied marketing here…

I have not studied marketing for quite some time, but I tell you that when we design a glossy brochure it’s to generate interest in our products and not necessarily to tell them everything about it. We publish data sheets that prospects can wade through but I believe the goal of the glossy brochure is to get you to call us to ask for more information…

waiting for a PhD to fill in more details…

That makes some sense. Of course, on the website I mentioned they also encourage you to book, immediately, through the website.

Groman I have also thought along similar lines. I must say that if your theory is correct, the sub-text of the copywriter’s tactic is that they don’t believe their more expensive options are good value.

Look at it this way- would you pay three times the price of an economy airline ticket for an extra four inches of legroom? No?

Well, then how about for a ticket that says “business class” and an extra four inches of legroom?

I see your point, but you do get (and know you are going to get) something for “business class” besides a name.

Would I pay an extra 30% for a room that is described as “premium” but having no additional features that can be ascertained?

You’re apparently a fairly discerning customer, so I’d guess not. Now, consider how much effort you put into figuring out that the hotel offers two identical products at the same price, and think about how much effort people generally put into relatively small purchases like that. Cut it in half for hotel guests who are expense-account-ing their room(s).

Restaurants do this on a much smaller scale, with wine lists. People don’t want to buy the cheapest wine, because it makes them look cheap. Thus, 75% of the time they get the one second from the bottom. As a restauranteur, you can take advantage of this by charging extra for really, really cheap plonk, and letting people assume it isn’t your worst.

Stayed in the City of London for a week lately? :wink:

But point taken.

Or Japan!

On the thread’s topic, it’s not just Glossies, I find a lot of Web sites which offer a variety of products (travel, online services, business services) often do not list prices near their different classes of products. They want you to build up a desire for the one that costs the most, that way when they plunk a huge price on you, you can tell yourself that you made this decision independent of price…

Or if it’s really out of your league, then when you drop down to the next product, they’ll tell you about the great features you’re “losing” by doing that. Now you’re attached to the high end product (since before you knew the price of it), and feel like you’re giving something up by going with a reasonably priced product.

They get your heart interested before they engage your brain.

Whenever my boss tells me to shop around for a software product to accomplish task a or task b, I’m always scared when I have to e-mail someone for a quote. I’m looking to spend $500 or $1,000, or $2,000 on a product. Their e-mail reply says it’s $50,000, and I’m like … why did I waste my time?

Because if I came on and saw $50,000 right away, I would have left the page without looking any further. But when I didn’t see $50,000, I am now comparing the features of the product to other company’s. “Wow, this product with unknown price does WAY more than this other one which is only $350!” Yeah, but it’s 140 times the price…