You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

There is No Need to Be Everywhere -- So Stop Trying Scarcity and exclusivity will become increasingly important for digital/social advertising.

By Brendan Gahan

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Henrik Sorensen | Getty Images

"Opportunities seem more valuable to us when their availability is limited."
-Robert B. Cialdini

How did Coco Chanel turn Chanel no 5 into the best-selling perfume of all time?

In Robert Greene's "The Laws of Human Nature," he wrote that Chanel would slip bottles of the perfume "into the bags of her wealthiest and best-connected clients."

Soon word of her fragrance spread like wildfire and women flocked to her store. She deliberately kept stock in short supply. This made it even more popular. Now it's the best-selling perfume in history.

Scarcity drove up demand.

Today this may work even better than in Chanel's time.

Just look around. Doesn't it feel as though everything is accessible? We're used to overnight shipping, food delivery in minutes, and movies on demand.

This has created a need for the inverse. There's opportunity for the contrarian.

Savvy marketers recognize this. As the saying goes, "one is an example, two is a coincidence, and three is a trend."

Related: 3 Strategies Robert Coorey Advises to Help You Sell in Today's Market

In the last few months:
1) Clubhouse exploded in popularity (it is invite only)
2) Luxury fashion brand Botega Veneta left social media
3) Travis Scott's McDonald's meal (available for a limited time) was a hit

What do they have in common?

They all leveraged scarcity. They all had cultural impact.

Clubhouse is the most buzzed about new app. They've never spent a dime on advertising. How'd they do it?

They manufactured scarcity by making it invite only. It became the ultimate humblebrag to share on Twitter that you were "in' Clubhouse. It's become so sought after that people are paying for invites on ebay.

Luxury fashion brand Botega Veneta deleted their social media accounts. The outcome has been a wave of press and intrigue.

According to a McDonald's memo that was leaked, the Travis Scott collaboration was almost too successful. It stated:

"We've created a program that's so compelling to our customers that it's stretching our world-class supply chain; and if demand continues at these levels, more restaurants will break supply."

How is it that scarcity has so much influence over us?

Robert B. Cialdini, author of "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion," noted that usually something harder to get is more valuable. As a result, we've internalized this as a mental shortcut.

Related: Supreme Clientele: Branding Lessons From Businesses That Use ...

Scarcity = valuable

Ironically, a number of tools are emerging making it easy for anyone to create exclusivity. Discord and Onlyfans, in particular, stand out.

These communities are filling a void in the market. They're creating turnkey exclusivity in an era of ubiquity.

I see this as the beginning of a growing trend.

For brands, this will result in VIP services for specific clientele.

In China, it's a tactic that's already become popular. Many retailers provide a high touch approach with VIP customers directly over Wechat. They have sales associates develop more personal relationships with customers and provide 1:1 previews of products and address personalized inquiries.

For creators, influencers, and community builders, walled gardens will become increasingly important.

Many will transition to private communities with exclusive content offerings like Logan Paul's Maverick Club. If you're not familiar, Paul has a member's site where fans pay for access to exclusive content.

The site boasts that, "we're serious when we say this is one of the most intimate team experiences in the world. From exclusive, uncut content, to real-life hangouts, insane giveaways, limited edition Maverick Clothing."

The challenge today is we've been burned.

An advertiser, influencer, or any community builder can no longer feign scarcity. They need to commit to it.

As the pendulum swings away from ubiquity toward exclusivity, many will inevitably stumble. We've heard "exclusive access' and "limited time offer' enough times to know that it's very rarely true.

Related: Marketing, business - Getting Customers Excited About Your Product

Brendan Gahan

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Partner & Chief Social Officer At Mekanism

Brendan Gahan is partner and chief social officer at independent creative agency Mekanism. Gahan has been at the forefront of social and influencer marketing since 2006, was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2012 and sits on the Vidcon Advisory Board.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Growing a Business

5 Innovative Ways to Give Your Customers the Personalized Experiences They Want

How to provide unique, personalized experiences that enhance customer satisfaction, foster brand loyalty and boost revenue.

Side Hustle

This Insurance Agent Started a Side Hustle Inspired By Nostalgia for His Home State — Now It Earns Nearly $40,000 a Month

After moving to New York City, Danny Trejo started a business to stay in touch with his roots — literally.

Business News

Side Hustles Are Soaring as Entrepreneurs Start Businesses Working Part- or Full-Time Elsewhere, According to a New Report

The younger the entrepreneur, the more likely they were to start a business as a side hustle.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Scrabble Makes First Change to Its Board in Over 75 Years

The new roll out is only available in Europe as of now.

Growing a Business

Want to Become an Industry Leader? Be a Guest on Podcasts — But Not the Ones You Think

If you are trying to promote your new product or service, there's a simple yet effective way to stand out from the rest.