Category Archives: Marketing

How to make a million dollars

A couple ways to make a million dollars:

1.) Sell one $1,000,000 product.

2.) Sell 10,000 $100 products.

3.) Sell a million $1 products.

There are other ways, but some thoughts:

A.) Number 1 is the easiest. Selling to a few people with big budgets and lots of problems is the simplest of any scenarios listed above.

B.) Number 2 is the most fun. Well, as a marketer at least. Getting 10,000 customers means earning fans, making something worth talking about, and making meaningful connections.

C.) Number 3 is impossible. And getting more so every day. This is a good thing.

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The inside joke

I think any friendship can be measured by the amount of inside jokes you share.

And while I’m not an ad guy, this commercial best visually expresses what I’m getting at:

The inside stuff creates loyalty, always has. Works for friendships and it works for business.

So how about it?

Share any inside jokes with your fans?

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The science behind remarkable

I wanted to share some interesting research we covered on our GasPedal blog a few weeks ago. It’s a 2003 study conducted by Christian Derbaix and Joelle Vanhamme of Belgium’s Université catholique de Louvain showing the influence of remarkable and surprising events on word of mouth:

The frequency and amount of WOM were clearly larger for negatively and positively surprising experiences than for their non surprising counterparts. Highly significant correlations were found between surprise, subsequent emotions and the frequency of WOM.

When hypothesizing why consumers are more likely to engage in word of mouth following a purchase involving surprise, Derbaix and Vanhamme suggest it could be related to the psychological “weight” associated with the event:

Surprise elicits substantial cognitive work (causal search, causal attribution, schema updating, and so on) and as mentioned by Söderlund (1998), this cognitive burden could lead to more interactions with others to the extent that interactions with others can help the individual in alleviating this burden. Therefore, the likelihood of inducing social sharing (WOM) is high.

So, in other words, if you deliver an unexpectedly remarkable experience to your customers, science tells us they can’t help but tell their friends about you.

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The Snuggie phenomenon

From an article I just saw over at AdAge:

Marketing’s New Red-Hot Seller: Humble Snuggie

That’s right.

The blanket with sleeves is one of the hottest selling items these days. Selling more than 4 million units in the past three months, Snuggies has made just under $40 million in retail sales.

There’s even reports of customers swamping stockers and grabbing all the Snuggies before they even reach the shelves at Bed, Bath & Beyond or Walgreens, the first two retailers to carry the blankets.

Imagine that, people trampling one another to get a blanket that has sleeves on it.

Why?

Well, I think the 200 videos on YouTube that are parodies of the product’s goofy commercial might have something to do with it. This one has nearly 150,000 views.

I had a feeling that Snuggies would succeed, despite their lame storytelling. Should be fun to watch how this trend plays out, but I’m still thinking they missed an opportunity to be huge.

I think the lesson here is that for some products, the story is so obvious that no matter how bad you screw up your marketing, the world will step in and show you how to really tell it.

Odds are though, you’re not that lucky.

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Just add sleeves!

Have you seen it yet?

Someone created “Snuggies.” The blankets with… sleeves.

Complete with an incredibly cheesy infomercial. Check it:

But when I watch this, I can’t help but have mixed feelings. Honestly, a fair part of me admires the simplicity of the idea. It reminds me of the classic Homer Simpson line after his brother shows him his invention that translates baby talk:

“Oh, I dunno’ Herb. Couldn’t you just have taken an existing product and put a clock in it?”

But c’mon folks.

Adding clocks and sleeves isn’t enough. What’s the story here? I think snuggies missed it.

The story (in reality) is probably:

Holy shit, what a brilliantly simple, sorta’ goofy idea we had one day. We like to lounge around, use a laptop, drink some coffee, and we’re sick of fighting our blankets.

You feelin’ us?

So we invented something pretty damn revolutionary: A blanket with sleeves.

But nooooooo.

Snuggies tries to convince us that these things are socially acceptable at sporting events.

The irony of course is, had they been upfront with how ridiculous the concept is, everybody would be asking to print their sports team on the damn things.

C’mon folks. Now, more than ever, adding sleeves isn’t enough.

More Bacon Salts. Less Snuggies.

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Look for the shadows

Last night a few GasPedal crew members and I had the opportunity to sit down with Mike Rohde following an intense WOM Crash Course. Mike’s the guy behind Rohdesign and is a truly talented sketch artist and cartoonist.

Mike was generous enough to share some of his drawings with the group. His work is creative and perceptive, and given all the ideas we went over in the day, it was amazing to see how much he had conveyed in his notes (to get an idea, check this out).

Thumbing through his sketches, it struck me that one of the things that made Mike’s work so impressive was his ability to work with shadows. Using only pen on paper, Mike was able to bring ideas and images to life–images full of depth and texture.

And for some twisted reason, I immediately thought of the great marketing in the world. I thought of how the most remarkable companies thrive on blowing us away with fantastic, wonderful experiences, the kinds of experiences that come from a relentless attention to the details everyone else overlooks (or simply cannot see at all).

The truly great artists and the most amazing companies see the shadows like Mike does.

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The lessons in lyrics

I’m listening to some random music and realized that there’s some potentially significant nuggets of wisdom that could really apply to marketing.

I’m not here to misrepresent an artists intentions, but the best stories are the ones that we can apply to ourselves. Here’s what I mean:

Modest Mouse: Missed the Boat — “…our ideas held no water but we used them like a dam…”

Bad ideas are the dams of progress. This reminds me of companies that still scoff at social media.

Buffalo Springfield: For What It’s Worth — “…singing songs and carryin’ signs / mostly say, hooray for our side…”

Marketing is about connections. Stories that fail to create connections, well, fail. If all you do is say hooray for yourself, we’re not listening. We can’t relate to that.

Cross Canadian Ragweed: Brooklyn Kid — “…a simple life ain’t that hard / no, a simple life ain’t all that hard..”

Fundamentals and simplicity often win. It’s amazing how difficult we can make success feel. Be honest. Be nice. Try hard. If you do those three things every day, you’re already in the top 10%.

How about you? Got a line of lyrics that speak to you?

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