Justification marketing 101

Justification marketing 101
Justification is everything, especially when you're marketing to women.

Justification is everything, especially when you're marketing to women.

jenene crossan idealog marketing column justification marketingIt's been an interesting journey since launching, one filled with customer feedback that has helped us evolve our proposition and improve our conversion rate. Every day we analyse everything on the site. What could have made it easier for customers? What could have helped them make a faster decision? What could have improved the purchase process?

There are some factors we can’t control. It’s impossible to get into an individual’s head to understand their personal rationale for buying that exact item at that exact moment, but we can try to take away the usual objections and roadblocks to make it easy as possible for them to justify their purchase. What we know about women is that justification is everything, and we market to it – openly. In fact, we believe in it so strongly that our slogan is ‘guilt-free, all about me’, marketing to the belief that women feel guilty when they spend money on themselves. We provide reassurance that this purchase is made free of the usual buyer’s remorse.

The usual barriers to purchase are lack of time, energy and money. There aren’t too many things we can do to remove those hurdles – we can’t take away the chores,  the children, the workload or the lack of sleep. But we can make them feel like they’re going to feel good for taking time out for themselves and the cost of doing so won’t be at the expense of little Johnny’s school trip fund.

We’re not the first to consider justification marketing. Those cunning buggers in the wine industry worked out a long time ago that we now only buy wine on special. So they’ve factored that in and budgeted for it. They ensure their products are rotating on special frequently enough so that when you’re up for buying, they’re at the right price for you to justify putting it into your trolley. They’ve built the fat into their normal RRP to cope with the ‘discount’.

The media industry is similar to this – when was the last time you bought at ratecard price? You expect to be made to feel special and feel proud of getting a price that’s unique to you.

We all like to think we’re getting a bargain, but when it comes to the retail market, we don’t just like to get something on special – we expect and demand it. We have the money to spend and we don’t want to pay full price. At the risk of giving away all the family secrets, we’ve taken cues from this and developed our own version of the secret sale sauce for We recognise that having quiet-time prices listed on the site isn’t always enough. The consumer is used to receiving offers now – they’re a dime a dozen. If we want them to convert to purchase, we have to give them reasons to do it now.

This is where justification marketing comes in. We have purpose-built data mining tools that enable us to watch carefully what someone buys or is interested in and then we position special prices and make them specifically available just to them, for one day only. These are not ‘list’ prices. These are the extra-special-otherwise-not-available prices. Other people do not see these. We make the most of the tools made available to us online to undertake this type of marketing.

And it works. Conversion rates skyrocket past 50 percent. We simply narrow our funnel and give them justification to buy.

With women it’s not always about price. We came across some research via recently where women who had ‘saved’ money on toilet cleaners mentally ‘banked’ that money to spend on treats for themselves in other parts of the store. The cross- promotional opportunities are mind-boggling!

If you’re marketing to women ask how you’re factoring justification into your strategy. And at the risk of gender-pigeonholing blokes, I suggest asking someone to sanity-check your insights. Women can justify their way in and out of anything! Don’t believe me? Ask a woman why she bought her last pair of shoes.

Jenene Crossan is the founder of and

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