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?

I think I understand why Kodak is in trouble

It’s not the fact that film is on its last leg.

It’s not the fact that digital is taking over the world.

It’s not even the fact that their products are worse than anyone else.

It’s their service.

I called yesterday to get some help with a printer. I went through all the steps to troubleshoot myself before calling. I even got an email from them saying that it wasn’t something I could fix myself. The email gave a number to me to call with a code for a replacement or repair.

I called, went through the process with the rep, but stopped short of actually getting a solution because I wasn’t in front of my printer so I couldn’t give him the service number that was printed on the printer.

He said to call back tomorrow (now today) with the number and my shipping address and they would get it taken care of.

So, I called today, believing that this would be a quick process…give them the number, my address, done.

My mistake.

After going through basically the same process with the new rep as the one yesterday, he said they would send me a new printer with a new print head. Then came the address. After no less than six repetitions  he had my address.

Then he asked for a credit card. Mind you, this was at the 27 minute mark. And, it was for a product of THEIRS that was broken. So, I asked why they needed a credit card. He said that it was in case I didn’t return the old printer.

I said I would prefer not to give them a credit card, so he went to check with his supervisor what to do. No lie, 20 MINUTES LATER he came back on the line. No checking in during the long hold, nothing. Just waiting for another 20 minutes…to tell me that I had to send the old one back first.

So, fed up, I said I’d give him my credit card just to get this over with. I said I’d like to use a Discover. The reply – “Is that a Mastercard or Visa?” No, it’s a Discover, do you take it? “Let me check with my manager.”

Another 6 minutes on hold.

No, they don’t take Discover. Fine, here’s my MasterCard number….six times to get THAT right after repeating it over and over.

Then, “I’m going to go confirm this with my manager.” Another five minutes.

Total call time – 59:17…to get a replacement for their crappy product that broke.

Epson is looking pretty good right now!

I think I understand why Kodak is in trouble

What if Amazon REALLY pushed the Kindle?

I know that Amazon is doing well with the Kindle and they are promoting it so well that this Christmas it’s next to impossible to find one. So, doing something to expand Kindle adoption may not be in the forefront of their mind, but I had an idea that I think would be pretty cool and push me over the edge.

This morning I was thinking on my way to work (that happens when you’ve got to drive through a foot of snow to get to a road that’s been plowed)…”Why haven’t I bought a Kindle yet?”

Sure, there’s the price thing, but I love reading so much that I could find a way to justify it.

I think one of the biggest reasons I haven’t bought one yet is that I have a HUGE backlog of books I want to read on my bookshelf already. I would hate to have to re-purchase all those books in order to take full advantage of the Kindle. But, if I don’t, what’s the point in having one?

Then it dawned on me.

What if Amazon had a deal for new Kindle owners? What if they said, “Buy a Kindle and if you send us books you already own, we’ll replace them with the Kindle version”? Then, Amazon can sell those paper copies as “used” books on their website.

Sure, there’d be some big issues with the publishers and the logistics. (I like to think of myself as more of a big picture guy! HA!) I know that putting a program like this in place would be tough, but how cool would that be?

I, for one, would definitely use a program like this to buy and fill a Kindle and use THAT for my reading going forward.

What if Amazon REALLY pushed the Kindle?

How to cure buyer’s remorse

Everyone knows what buyer’s remorse is. Whether they are in business or not, they understand the concept. They may look at it from the other side of the coin, but they get it.

I have had many cases of buyer’s remorse in my life and I expect to have many more. So many times, I’ve bought something and (occasionally right afterwards) felt, “Boy, I really shouldn’t have bought that. Sometimes that leads to me keeping the product, sometimes not…but suffice it to say, I’ve felt it.

New Egg, in my opinion, has a handle on a great solution for that remorse.

I recently bought a Drobo for backing up my computer at home. As an aside, if you don’t have one of these yet…you need one. So, I ordered the Drobo and then a couple of 500 GB hard drives from New Egg.

Now, there wasn’t much chance that I was going to return those because I needed them, but there was always the possibility that I would change my mind and go with a different brand. Or scrap the Drobo idea completely and return the whole lot. But, it was unlikely.

New Egg, though, didn’t know that.

A few days after my drives showed up I got an email from New Egg. The subject line said, in essence that my product had either recently won or been nominated for an industry/consumer award. (Don’t remember exactly what it was, so I probably shouldn’t have deleted the email. Oh well) Then the email went on to explain the award and some comments about the product.

How great is that?

If someone started to get uneasy about their choice, here comes New Egg to say, “Hey, you made a great choice. This group is so confident in the choice you made they gave it an award. You are so smart.” Ok, so they left the last part off…but you get the idea.

Now, this obviously is contingent on a product ACTUALLY winning an award, which they won’t all do. But, New Egg sees the opportunity presented by the product winning an award and uses it to help THEIR business.

Very well done New Egg. Keep it up.

How to cure buyer’s remorse