Friday 17 August 2018

The "Wash"

I was having lunch with another blogger yesterday afternoon. 

It was one of those "talk male chicken" sessions.

And the topic somehow touched on my weekend sales "manipulations".

In our industry, the local lingo in Hokkien is "shueh" or "wash".

Companies usually will employ either or both pull and push strategies when it comes to marketing and sales.

Pull is to psycho the customers through advertising, social media advertorials, or public relations campaigns, to seduce the customers to ask for your brands/products when they walk into a store or browse any online shopping platforms. Top-down.

Push is what we do inside the stores or online shopping platforms to steer you to our brands/products. Bottom-up  

There are some smaller brands of home appliances that don't employ Pull strategies. 

What they rely on is the skill and incentives they provide to their promoters to push their brands out to customers in the stores. 

Contrary to what you expect, the bigger and more famous the brand, the less attractive the commissions scheme will be.

Think about it for a moment. 

Would you need to give more or less commissions to promoters to help you sell Apple phones versus if you were selling "unkown" brands from China?

Same logic works for Term insurance policies.They sell by themselves for financially savvy customers. But for wholelife and endowment policies, you need to incentivize your insurance agents to push these out right?

When your investment bank recommends you unrated corporate junk bonds over those that are rated, make a wild guess why?

Now you know why peer-to-peer lending platforms can offer up to 18% interests to attract willing "philanthropists". Wink.

So when a brand advertises and attracts customers to a store, a percentage of the customers will end up buying other brands when they walk out.

If it happened to you, you've been "washed"!

And that is all thanks to the promoter's "washing" skills.

Put yourself in the promoter's shoes.

If I sell brand X I get $200; and brand Y gives $300.

Which brand would you promote?



  1. Buy online ... no “wash”, no middleman, cheaper

    1. Yaruzi,

      There is still "wash".

      Some more subtle; some in your face obvious!

      For eg, you may just want to buy 1 pc, but there's a buy 2 get 1 free option...

      So you bought 2 instead ;)

      You wanted to buy the basic plain vanilla model. You ended up buying the bell and whistle accessories and add-ons too ;)

      Politics, religion, and businesses use the same Pull and Push techniques - its all about shepherding.

      The only debate is who copied from whom!?


    2. I agree with SMOL.

      According to my digital marketing lecturer, online also got "wash."

      E-commerce sites "know" when office workers are bored with their work and adjust the prices of their products accordingly. The same goes for the hospitality industry.

      Must know when is the best time to buy....until the best time has been figured out by artificial intelligence and it is no longer the best time to buy =/

    3. Unintelligent Nerd,

      That's why that Facebook incident got so much hoo-ha.

      Influencing buying behaviour is OK, if not how to make money?

      But when it comes to steering election results...

      Especially if your candidate did not win!

      But if your preferred candidate had won, it would be perfectly alright!?

      There's a lot of hypocricy out there ;)

      I'm impressed with Google too!

      I visited some sound bar sites recently, and immediately I start to see lots of ads on sound bars appearing everywhere trying to "wash" me to their alternative sites!

      Some readers remarked in the past my blog got lots of ads with scantily clad pretty girls looking for "companionship".

      Hello, that meant these readers recently goggled or visited...


  2. Replies
    1. CW,

      "Free" is very powderful!

      And if you buy from X platform, you can collect bonus points where you can redeem them for FREE gifts or even more DISCOUNTS!

      That's why BOTH online and brick-and-mortar retailers are eager to give away FREE memberships to their customers.

      If it worked for credit cards and frequent flyer miles, it will work for them too!

      Spend more to save more! How wrong can it be?


  3. Aiyo ... many sales staff so obvious ... trying their darnedest to talk up some particular brand! LOL!

    Maybe in the old days there are brands with solid QA & manufacturing. But I think now mostly are about the same. Some maybe even produced in same OEM factories. LOL

    There are times when I got a branded "lemon" ... conk out after 2 years. And there are some no-brand products that is still working after 10 yrs...

    So now I just roughly see the main requirements / features and then just go for the cheapest lah. E.g. With my cock eyes, I can't see any difference between 4K or 8K res! I will definitely fail my rifle shoot if do today! Hahaha!

    Yeah & as most have pointed out .... just order the cheapest from online.

    Funny enough, I just read from somewhere that consumers these days don't search for brands .... they simply google or search Amazon for the FEATURES & UTILITY & PRICE that they want. Locally we will be going to Lazada, Qoo10, Taobao etc.

    And then there's always those financially savvy types cheonging for FI who will drill local sales staff with questions, specs, demos etc and then run to JB to order the stuff! Hohoho!!

    I'm sure there are going to be online M'sian discount outlets targeting Sinkies for 1/3 or 1/2 priced electronics, furniture etc .... plus free freight! Alamak!!

    1. Spur,

      Yup, when I was into photography, that's when I first found out about OEM products ;)

      This zoom lens with the Nikon brand would cost $800 plus. But the same identical zoom lens from the less well known OEM supplier's brand would only cost $500 plus.

      Some bei kambings customers may say LG PC monitor no good and brand X is better, without realising brand X got their LED panels from LG...


      Online retailers are using the strongest "wash" tactic to steer customers away from brick-and-mortar retailers - PRICE.

      I do the reverse. I search online for the "market price", and I go to my favourite store to buy.

      I don't mind paying a bit more (just as long I don't overpay); in return I know if things went wrong, I'll get the recovery service support ;)

      And that's why I don't fly budget airlines.

      Its funny when I read so many parrots in our community say price is what you pay, value is what you get.

      Yet they do the opposite when it comes to their other purchases ;)

  4. Hi SMOL,

    I read through your post but I keep getting stuck at the pull and push part. I keep thinking why customers must be pulled into the store, then pushed into particular brands. Why can't it be like this: customers are pushed into shops/sites, then pulled into particular brands? Your definition of push/pull is the top down/bottom up...but still not clear.

    1. LP,

      You must be a communist!

      We "pull" customers into the store like in fishing ;)

      The trick is "plant" ideas into them and let them think they are making their own informed decision ;)

      Capitalists at least make the effort to "pretend"; communists just "push" you into the store they want you to go, tell you what to buy, when to buy, and how many you can buy!

      The "push" in the store comes from the action of bringing products/brands into the customer's attention.

      If I want to promote brand A, I would only offer you brands B and C as alternatives knowing they will look "weak" when compared to brand A.

      I would never let you know we have brand X that is much superior to brand A at a more competitive price.

      Competent promoters are like magicians - we practice misdirection too!

      Perhaps a religion analogy would help?

      "Push" is convert or we chop off your heads!

      "Pull" is the promise of paradise and other "benefits" of memberships ;)

      Pull and push are opposite sides of the same coin. I can easily switch them to Seduce and Entice ;)

      I first seduce you to come close to my side with my coy smile.

      Then I entice you with a bit of cleavage to seal the deal.



  5. Hi SMOL,

    Hmm, sounds like what we do in blogs...pull people to read by putting sensational titles, then push them in a certain direction to influence them with our thoughts.

    I'm still thinking about the difference between push and pull haha! Looks like I'm not a 'pushover' lol

    1. LP,

      I wouldn't expect anything less from you!

      I practice "Trust but Verify", just like you ;)

      In the scientific community, its akin to subjecting what we say to "peer review".

      Its much better than to accept what others say simply based on "faith" ;)

      In the old days, Pull is called Above-the-line marketing; while Push is called Below-the-line marketing.

      I'm sure a professor in the future will come up with new terminologies all in the name of selling more textbooks mah! Look! New improved edition!!!

      I had a good laugh when some try to pass Thematic Investing as something "new".

      Hello, it can easily be called Top Down Investing or Global Macro. And since it rides on trends, we can also call it Trend Following!?

      That's why we have 1001 denominations of the same faith. Everyone wants to invent new bottles to hold old wine so they can be the chief shepherd!


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