How to have people buy without realizing it

Earlier today I saw a blog post for a charity that was promoting a new DVD they are offering….well, sort of. What they were doing was saying they would send you the DVD as a thank you for any donation you make to them.

Now I know that cause marketing is nothing new and this is not a new way to raise money for a charity, but something about it has stuck with me.

The thing is, while the DVD interested me, I don’t know if I would have bought it. Now, I donated $15 to the charity following this offer and as soon as I hit the “pay” button I started wondering if I would have paid $15 if I had seen the DVD in the store.

Probably not.

But, when packaged as a “thank you” for a donation to a cause I believed in, I did so without giving it a second thought.

Like I said, this isn’t anything new, but I just feel like there’s something there. A way to sell something without someone feeling like they bought it.

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How to have people buy without realizing it

What I want from Amazon’s Kindle

So, by now, everyone has heard the buzz about the Kindle 2. In fact, now there’s even rumors of Kindle 3. (Gotta love the life cycle of technology!)

Take this for what you will, since I’ve never even played with a Kindle, let alone owned one.

I think the concept of having it read to you is great. Sure, it doesn’t replace audio books, but it’s still a pretty interesting feature – especially when you take it from the standpoint of a person with vision impairment.

What I would really like goes to the heart of how I read a non-fiction (usually business) book. When I read, I do so with a highlighter firmly in hand. I mark up passages, thoughts, concepts that resonate with me. Then, even though I’m WAY behind, I like to pull those highlighted sections out and summarize the book somewhere for easy reference. This allows me to smash concepts from different books together and hopefully come up with ideas.

So, what I’d really like from the Kindle goes to that practice. I know you can “highlight” sections of a book…and this has supposedly gotten easier on Kindle 2. I would love it if, once you finish a book, you can connect the Kindle to the computer and have it create a document for you that sets a chapter title as a heading and then list all the highlighted sections for that chapter below the heading. Almost like an automated outlining tool.

I don’t know if it already does something like that, but I know I’d buy one right now if it did!

Edit (3/2/09): Apparently I didn’t look around enough before I wrote this. According to a few posts (like this one) it seems that you can already do most of this with the Kindle. Ok, now I’m interested!

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What I want from Amazon’s Kindle

Seth highlights another great way to succeed

This post really struck me for some reason.

Seth has an incredible knack for making people think. That’s why he’s so good at what he does. When I read that post, it made me think that “making your customers’ dreams come true” is a great way to succeed, but it takes a special person/group/company to do it.

I think that too many people/groups/companies stop short of doing this…to their detriment. It’s so easy to say that, “My industry isn’t one that people dream about,” or, “We don’t do have a product that people equate with that level of excitement.” They use that as a reason to be satisfied with ok, or even good.

The problem is that there’s another person/group/company right behind them that IS hungry enough to grab that goal of making their customers’ dreams come true and they’re going to pass you up soon if you ignore them.

It’s easy to figure that your customers are happy enough with what you do, so you don’t need to change. The problem is, if they’re “happy enough,” they’re not happy enough to not leave if a better offer comes along.

It takes a person/group/company that is dedicated to making their customers’ dreams come true to keep them from looking to satisfy those dreams elsewhere.

While the statement is really an elegant way to keep you focused on your customer’s question of, “What’s in it for me?” it’s something that’s easy to forget and hard to get back once you remember it.

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Seth highlights another great way to succeed

How can Starbucks fix their corner of the Internet?

In reading through “The Big Moo” by Seth Godin, something hit me with regard to Starbucks and their wifi connection.

When they switched to AT&T as their provider, they made a big announcement and promotion about how now iPhone users could use their wifi for free for two hours per day.

Great idea. In my opinion, the fact that they charge for wifi at all is a bit ridiculous, but reasonable people can disagree with that one.

I have, on many occasions, tried to use the “free” wifi at Starbucks and never once succeeded.

Why? It takes too long.

When you’re talking about a service for a mobile phone, how do you think most people will tend to use it? Probably to quick check the news or their email while they’re waiting in line for their $4 cup of coffee. Sure, there are people that will sit and use up their whole two hours, but I’m guessing that most people are just using a few minutes while they’re in the store in the morning.

But, at Starbucks, you have to go through an entire login process before you can even use the wifi. By that time, I usually just say, “forget it, I’ll do it later.”

Is this nitpicking? Maybe, but in my mind, if a company is built on experience, then the experience should be consistent. Putting a barrier in people’s way for something as simple as wifi seems to me to fall outside the type of experience that Starbucks should be working toward.

How can Starbucks fix their corner of the Internet?