What the Confederate Flag Drama Can Teach You About Marketing

What the Confederate Flag Drama Can Teach You About Marketing

Unless you’ve just emerged from a week-long sabbatical in the woods with no internet access, you’ve heard about the recent controversy surrounding the Confederate flag. In case you haven’t, I’ll get you up to speed:

  1. Kid takes pictures with a Confederate flag.
  2. Kid commits a heinous crime.
  3. Some people are outraged that said flag is allowed to exist while others are outraged that some want it gone.
  4. The controversy provokes knee-jerk reactions from both sides.

Personally, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I was born in Illinois, and aside from my time traveling the world while in the Marine Corps, I’ve spent most of my life in Florida. Despite being America’s southernmost state, Florida is basically just the north with beaches and nicer weather.

As far as I’m concerned, although it’s not my cup of tea, you’re free to fly that flag. You know, First Amendment and all.

But a lot of people are talking about “banning” it (never mind the fact that the government has zero authority or ability to do so) which has predictably resulted in surge in sales of the Confederate flag.

In the last couple of days, people have begun shelling out money as fast as they can to obtain their very own Confederate flag before their ability to do so is gone forever. Oh, the horror.

But wait, how exactly would someone (even the massive U.S. government) take away the ability to make this flag? Or any flag, for that matter? Will they also outlaw sewing, and make red, white, and blue cloth a tightly controlled substance under strict government control? Look, they can’t even keep drugs out of prisons, so they certainly can’t stop someone from sewing a flag.

Companies are free to stop selling it, but the government cannot legally stop anyone from making or selling it.

And that is where this event teaches you a valuable lesson about marketing…

Scarcity, even when completely made-up and irrational, motivates people to take action immediately.

Have you ever noticed that the top internet marketers offer their webinars or training programs for a limited time? You can’t just buy it whenever you want even though it’s a digital product that you simply download. They can sell these products an infinite number of times, 24/7 with zero impact on their overhead, so why introduce artificial scarcity? It’s not an accident or a mistake.

Scarcity increases demand. Scarcity creates the perception of exclusivity. And scarcity will increase your profit margins.