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Kill the Upsell
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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We are all tired of the "experts" declaring certain activities in marketing and advertising and sales are dead. We all understand that there are reasons to keep even the traditional activities around, depending on the audience. 

But, if one thing needs to be dead, it should be the upsell. Nothing to consumers and advertisers is as annoying as the upsell.

Here's why: consumers need to start trusting advertisers and brands. If consumers continue to think that brands and advertisers will try to get out of them as much as they can, the less trusting they will be. As the Millennial generation comes to age, they are much more receptive to advertising than many of their predecessors. Getting rid of the upsell process can help brands and advertisers continue to create goodwill to this growing population.

And a second point: Our industry has sucked at upselling.

Yes, the reason that consumers and brands have a bad taste in their mouths from upselling is because the process was done poorly. Information about the consumer including past purchasing history, needs, and phase in life cycle need to be digested before packaging an upsell. But because our industry and clients have such an aversion to research, the upsells were not targeted, the activities were not customized, and therefore the buyer's remorse the customer felt after the upsell made them distrust the brands they just patroned.

Of course, there is a silver lining. We can add more effort into the upsell process. We can add more marketing analytics and consumer information to make the upselling process more specific, making the process actually useful to the consumer. Because if we don't make the upsell process useful, we shouldn't do it.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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