We are all familiar with the famous tagline, “But wait, there’s more!”. The infomercial presenter, invariably obnoxiously loud and overbearing, will then most likely make a breathless and titillating pronouncement: if you call in, right then and there, they promise to double the initial offer. 

For example, the number of “can’t-live-without-them-egg-beaters” initially available for $10, namely two, suddenly becomes four. In addition, they will throw in a fancy muffin pan, absolutely free. If you were in for two (or even just leaning that way), you are certainly in for four! Even if you don’t bake and are reflexively annoyed at this unwelcome interruption to your late-night binge-watching marathon, you might still be seriously inclined to call that 1-800 number and get said egg-beaters (with luxurious muffin pan in tow) before the advertised time limit expires.

The countdown clock keeps flashing on the special one-time-only offer, and who knows, maybe you will start baking at some point? If they end up in a kitchen drawer for all eternity, never to beat a single egg, it’s only $10 after all. Not to mention, if all else fails, you would still have the lovely thrown-in muffin pan. When the very same commercial runs again a mere day or two later with the very same countdown clock (which has evidently somehow been miraculously reset), annoying announcer-guy and muffin pan once again included, one could be forgiven for feeling a bit foolish.

Another example would be if a dealership offered to include a Nissan Leaf charger station with vehicle purchase. The charger station is something a prospective buyer will definitely need, so bundling it with the vehicle makes the buying process easier and more tempting. Likewise, home sellers sometimes offer prospective buyers the chance to acquire existing furnishings. Whether it is a lightly used love seat and sofa combo or a full dining room set, chances are the potential buyer will at least consider purchasing the existing décor. Their new home will definitely need furniture, so why not just tap into the incentive being offered? Again, the logic is sound and persuasive.

The truth is that add-ons and incentives are very convincing and widely used marketing tools, and not just with inexpensive knick-knacks, but with genuinely high-value items. If the add-on is something you will need anyway and will have to seek out once you have already completed your purchase of the primary product, why not just go ahead and get it in conjunction with said primary item, especially when it is being offered at a discount? It is a truly compelling bit of logic, and one heavily weighted in favor of the consumer ultimately succumbing to the dangled combo-purchase.

The use of add-ons or incentives can be an even more lucrative marketing approach if the add-on involves a subscription instead of a one-time purchase. With this approach, any upfront discount is ultimately recouped by the seller over time and perhaps even ultimately surpassed. Besides a car or housing, another major purchase for most generally involves technology, for example, a big-screen television. Without the desired channels and entertainment choices a new TV quickly becomes decidedly underwhelming. Sadly, if one intends to watch their favorite shows, egg-beater infomercials possibly included, they will most likely have to activate a subscription to one of the myriad content producers whose apps are already enticingly pre-loaded to and bundled with their new TV.

Add-ons and incentives work. As marketing tools, they’re likely here to stay.