Death of the Marketing Penny

Joshua Fields Millburn
Posted on January 20, 2013

We’re all slobbering dogs, drooling on command for today’s Pavlovian advertisements.

We’ve been trained by well-paid marketers and advertisers and scholars of demography. We catch a glimpse of a deceving price point like $9.99, and even though we know we’re being tricked to think the price is lower than $10, we accept the trick; we allow ourselves to fall for marketing’s illusion of lower prices.

You may have noticed (although you likely didn’t notice) that Asymmetrical Press recently killed the marketing penny. That is to say, we stopped buying into deception of the dot-ninety-nine marketing maneuver (whenever possible). After all, if you’re kind enough to support our cause, we don’t want to trick you; we want you to know what you’re paying. Thus, if you purchase one of our books, it won’t be $XX.99, it will be $3 or $5 or $15 or whatever price we believe is honest and fair.

We realize that such a stance isn’t cool or sexy or even very interesting. And we’re aware that this change will likely hurt our sales. But perhaps it will help us be slightly better human beings in the process. And that’s a price we’re willing to pay.

That’s not to say that people who still participate in penny-of-deception marketing are wrong or ill-intentioned. Most people don’t think about it (we didn’t for a long time); they are simply going with the flow. But that flow happens to be a slipstream we no longer want to wade in.

You, too, can make a conscious effort to do likewise. You, too, can refuse to fall for slight-of-hand pricing. Simply round up to the next dollar before every purchase and … voilà! Your awareness for the magic trick will help you kill the illusion.