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What Are Marketing Ladders?

Kristie Lorette
Kristie Lorette

Marketing ladders are a step-up and step-down system that businesses use to up sell and down sell products and services. It is a marketing strategy or marketing approach to provide purchase options to existing and prospective customers. Many marketing and business experts believe that marketing ladders benefit both the companies offering the ladders and the customers that are choosing from one of the rungs of the ladder.

For example, if a company sells memberships to a website, it may use a three rung approach with its marketing ladders. There may be three levels of membership from which the customer can choose. The bottom rung would include the least expensive membership option with the least amount of benefits. The middle rung would offer a price point and benefits that fall between the lowest and highest level of membership. The highest rung represents the most expensive level of membership with the most benefits.

Man climbing a rope
Man climbing a rope

One company may have multiple marketing ladders. Each marketing ladder is associated with a product or service line, or caters to a specific set of customers. For example, a company may use one marketing ladder for existing members of its site, while it may use one of the other marketing ladders for a free trial customer who now wants to cancel membership.

The primary purpose of marketing ladders is to move customers through the marketing funnel by offering them choices. For example, assume a client signs up for membership at the lowest membership level. The company can then plan a marketing campaign that targets these members to upgrade their membership level to the middle rung. In this case, the company would be trying to move the customer up the ladder or to up sell the customer.

Another one of the marketing ladders may deal with customers planning on canceling membership. If a middle rung customer sends in a request to cancel membership, the company may offer an option for the customer to move down the ladder to the bottom rung instead. If the member is at the highest level, they could first receive the option to downgrade to the middle membership level. If they decline, then another option may pop up to offer them the option to downgrade to the lowest membership level.

In short, providing the alternatives to clients using marketing ladders increases sales up front. This marketing approach can also retain clients, which ultimately means retaining profits for the business.

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