Exclusivity and scarcity generate a feeling of loss: loss of the freedom to obtain something.
I recently applied for the Privium membership at Schiphol airport which allows me to skip the queues by using an eye scanner. Why? Well, it’s not because I thought it would make my travel a whole lot more efficient. The real reason was that I couldn’t stand the sight of other travelers passing swiftly through customs and security while I had to wait in the regular queues. I sensed a lack of freedom.
Loss aversion is the term experts use to describe that we prefer not to lose things. We don’t want to lose our valuables, we don’t want to lose the opportunity of obtaining something, and we don’t want to be entitled less than others are. As opportunities are limitedly available, we feel we lack freedoms. People hate losing and lacking their freedom.
Many marketers apply the principle of loss aversion with the concept of exclusivity. When something can only be obtained by those with a certain status, then many of us want that status. Other businesses apply the same principle with the concept of scarcity. By sending the message that there is only a limited amount available of something, people are prepared to pay more, and do more, in order to obtain it.
The science of motivation says people are more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something of equal value. By applying exclusivity and scarcity you can turn someone’s thoughts of merely adopting or obtaining something, into the feeling of losing a fundamental right to have it. And thus, when we want to move people to accept our idea, product or service, it can be very effective to ask ourselves: