Friday, July 19, 2013

Shadow Dark Tourism

Set up your shop adjacent to the site of the World Trade Center 9/11 tragedy or the Auschwitz concentration camp, and you’ll draw bonus foot traffic. Take retailing tips from how vendors built sales using tie-ins to the recent sesquicentennial of the horrible Battle of Gettysburg. Make a killing from devising your local version of “The Helter Skelter Tour,” a three-hour multimedia visit to the sites of the multi-murders carried out in the 1960s by the Charles Manson Family.
     Or decide how your retail business might otherwise profit from understanding the fascination consumers have with visiting places where atrocities occurred. The draw has been so well documented and has such a stable historical foundation that an Institute for Dark Tourism Research maintains an active agenda at University of Central Lancashire in the UK.
     An International Business Times posting speculates that the motivations for the fascination include:
  • An intellectual curiosity about history 
  • A wish to preserve lessons from the past 
  • A desire to honor those who have died 
     Consumer behavior research also suggests a related motivation—to build self-esteem in order to handle the fear of our own deaths. This motivation is embedded in what’s called Terror Management Theory, which has implications for all types of retailing.
     TMT says that our realization we will someday die leads us to build legacies. Stanford University researchers find that a protection against death anxiety is high self-esteem. The colloquial phrase “I was so embarrassed I could’ve died” reflects a relationship between threats to self-esteem and one’s demise.
     To get the most from TMT:
  • Be ethically comfortable with using an underlying fear of death as a sales motivator. In my opinion, it’s fine to deliver value by relieving your customers’ anxiety. The three caveats for me are: Don’t violate the law to make customers feel good. Don’t gouge people by charging excessive prices. And don’t pressure people to buy when they’re seeming to struggle with temptation. But those are my rules. You need to decide for yourself. 
  • Recognize that TMT motivation is reserved for adults. Reminding children they’ll inevitably die is nothing if not ghoulish. And teenagers—those reckless rascals—behave and misbehave on the assumption they’ll never die. 
  • Praise consumers of dark tourism and other retailing after a purchase is made. Researchers at London Business School and Cornell University found that when praise is given before the purchase, the TMT motivation fades away. 
Click below for more: 
Use Terror Management Theory for Status Items 
Evolve the Most Basic Sales Pitches of All

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