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Creating A Need – A Marketing Strategy

November 14, 2012
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And can I say I’m sick and tired of it? Of companies creating a need, fulfilling it for free first, but then asking money for it. There’s got to be a name for that strategy marketing but I couldn’t find it.

My first encounter with it was Hallmark back in the 90’s. When e-cards were at their beginnings, I would always turn to hallmark.com to send mine. I was a big fan of Hoops and Yoyo characters. The service was free, and I was a good Hallmark card paper card buyer either.  But eventually, you’d have to create an account to send a card and nowadays, you have to pay an annual fee to access all the cards and only an estimated 10% of the card are free now. Needless to say I did not become a member (though 12$/year is a reasonable price, I’m just turned off) and regardless of the fact that I don’t live in North America anymore, to me it’s a turn off of buying Hallmark paper card as well. I’d probably go Carlton.

Now to the sewing. When I became a Burdastyle member in 2008, a lot of their patterns were free and they would offer a new, most of the time free pattern every Monday as well. The instructions were far from perfect but who cared? It was free! A couple of years ago, I don’t know what happened internally at Burda, but overnight and without warning, you’d have to pay for most Burdastyle-generated patterns (at least member patterns remained free). Oh how happy I was that I had saved all their free patterns beforehand. Oh the protest and the wave of appall this sparked! Some of you might recall… Burdastyle, however, doesn’t seem to have learned from it. A few months ago, they started making one of their non-free patterns free for 24 hours on Friday (Friday freebie). However, they stopped this feature just as suddenly a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately for them, no wave of protest this time…

Now on to the next. You might or might not remember the Petunia summer dress I’d made for DM. In the post, I refer to a tutorial on sewing with the spool thread published on Threads a couple of years ago. While working on the Coral Bamboo Shoot Peplum Top, I went back to look for it and what! You’d now have to be a “Threads Insider” (for 32,95$/year) to access it!

Let me be clear about it. I have no problem with Burda, Threads or others making people pay for patterns, tutorials or whatever product. I would understand them making readers pay for everything they produce from now or whenever other point in time on. But retrospectively?!?!

So tell me, what’s this marketing strategy called? And what’s your opinion about it?

Edited to add:

I found a writte description of how to sew with the bobbin on Patternreview (where else?)…

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2012 16:58

    I could not agree with you more, both on greeting cards AND on once-free patterns. (In another field completely, the apparent multiplication of free-fanfiction-turned-paying-book à la 50 Shades of Gray annoys me for pretty much the same reasons, basically). The free offer was a bait, to get you to the site and now the same patterns are to be paid for? Sorry, not interested. Now, I only surf the US Burdastyle via the newsletter or bloggers/members linkage.

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    • November 14, 2012 22:11

      Same as me. I only surf the projects on Burda, on the lookout for inspiring creations and outstanding sewing blogs…

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  2. November 17, 2012 19:07

    Burda seems to be much more closely associated with the magazine now. I’d imagine they just weren’t making money the other way, but I think they should have started offering the magazine downloads (which I love because I hate the tracing sheets) without charging for formerly free patterns.

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  3. November 20, 2012 04:54

    I wonder when the shoe will drop on Tumblr and Pintrest. We’ve all experienced the mess that is Facebook as they try to monetize. I’ve often wondered why Burda doesn’t sell more patterns the “traditional” way. That is not so much downloads as paper. But, I have not done a download pattern yet.

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