February 2009

Seth Godin Fires Up Ideas for Amazon’s Kindle

2017-03-01T11:56:34+00:00 Categories: grow, SandBlog|Tags: , , |


Kindle is an electronic book reader created by Amazon. There’s been some hubbub lately as the new, upgraded version is now available.

Seth Godin reviews it on his site today offering a slew of great ideas for Amazon to consider.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, the ideas that Seth offers not only work for the Kindle, but could apply to the products and services at your company.

Replace “Kindle” with your widget and see what ideas you come up with.

Enjoy Seth’s advice!

December 2007

June 2007

“Greatest Promotion” Wouldn’t Scale

2017-03-01T11:57:04+00:00 Categories: grow|Tags: , , , , |

Washington DC-area California Tortilla restaurants offered a $1-off your purchase if you beat the cashier playing Rock, Paper, Scissors.

A really cool idea.

I just heard about this from John Moore (from Brand Autopsy), who saw it on the website of Seth Godin, who read about it on the Freakonomics blog, who spotted it on the DCist blog, a site about all things Washington DC… Whoosh!

I agree this is a buzz-worthy promotion. Just look at the path it took to get posted here!

At his site, Seth comments that this idea showcases the front line worker. Makes them “part of the deal.” He adds how great it is to allow them judgment. Perhaps even build enthusiasm among employees who are typically gears in the business machine.

Seth then suggests… What if you could get a free biscotti if you told a great joke to your Starbucks barista? Or what if the customer service team could give a prize to the nicest person who calls in that day?

A neat idea… but not at all realistic for a large company.

The California Tortilla idea works because they don’t have very many locations. Smaller businesses can get away with bigger ideas like this because there is less ‘exposure’ to risk. What California Tortilla hoped was that enough people will talk about it… and visit the stores… and the $1-off discount offer would be offset by increased traffic for the day.

I’m sure that California Tortilla is prepared to give EVERYONE walking through their door on that day a dollar off. So, for them… the extra 100 customers who visit each of their 10? locations? That’s a discount budget of $1,000. Not too risky.

While I like Seth’s sentiment… Could you imagine if Wal*Mart or Starbucks actually tried this same promotion? It wouldn’t work.

  • They’d have to be prepared to give away hundreds of thousands of dollars
  • I’m certain that the “rock” of the Rock Paper Scissors, would be used as what it really is – a fist – and someone would get hurt.

So often, the marketing tactics of small, fast growing companies are admired… But doing it while small isn’t the same as when you’re big.

The hotshots we were watching a few years ago… Build-A-Bear Workshop, Krispy Kreme, and Whole Foods were the darlings other companies wanted to be like. We were scrambling… benchmarking and doing store tours of these guys… How can we be more like them?

I’ve always argued, it is easy to do “cool” things when they had 5, 10… even 50 locations… Wait until they have more locations. It isn’t the same. It isn’t easy. And now, each of these businesses has growing pains…

  • Krispy-Kreme has had financial problems.
  • Build-A-Bear has gone public and now watered down their concept by offering pre-made stuffed animals in the toy aisle of Target.
  • Whole Foods is in a whole lot of hubbub in trying to get bigger.

So, realistically… what ideas would work for the big guys? What could a 7-Eleven, Starbucks, or Subway sandwich shop do? Anyone?

January 2007

How to Be Different: “Create A Contagion”

2017-03-01T11:57:19+00:00 Categories: grow|Tags: , , , , |

The crux of Guy Kawasaki’s book “The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything” is about turning ideas into action! In chapter 9, “The Art of Branding,” Guy offers advice on how to create a remarkable product or brand.

Who: Guy Kawasaki

What: “Create A Contagion”*

What is it?

Create “something contagious that infects people with enthusiasm.”

How is it done?

Contagion is…
Cool – Cool is beautiful. Cool is hip. Cool is idiosyncratic. And cool is contagious…

Effective – You can’t brand crap. You can’t brand something that doesn’t work.

Distinctive – It is easy to notice and advertises itself. It leaves no doubt that it is different from the competition.

Disruptive – Contagious products are disruptive. They either upset competitive status quo (“Oh, hell, this is better. We’re in trouble.”) or make them go into denial (“Why would anyone want a graphical user interface?”). But they do not leave people unaffected.

Emotive – It exceeds expectations, and by exceeding expectations, it makes you joyful.

Deep – The more you use it, the more you discover what it is capable of.

Indulgent – Purchasing it makes as feel as if you’ve indulged yourself. This may be because it costs more than alternatives, it’s cooler, or it’s more than you really need. Thus, it enables you to escape the mundane.

Supported – Provide exemplary service.

Guy continues the chapter with great advice on brand building… but we’ll stop here… with focus on remarkability.

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Upcoming Post:

  • Marty Neumeier and Zag!

*This post was originally referred to as Guy’s advice for creating “Secret Sauce.” He recommends when you are pitching your product/service/company that you explain the underlying magic of your company. What is the “technology, secret sauce, or magic behind your product or service?” By sharing your contagion, you’ll accomplish this task.

December 2006

How to Be Different: “Create a Purple Cow”

2017-03-01T11:57:25+00:00 Categories: grow, SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

Seth Godin points out in his book “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable” that… “In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” What stands out more in a field of average cows than a purple cow?

Who: Seth Godin

Author, speaker and marketing guru.

What: “Purple Cow”

What is it?:

Purple Cow – something that stands out – something remarkable.

Seth defines remarkability as something worth talking about. Worth noticing. Exceptional. New. Interesting. It’s a Purple Cow. It’s an idea that spreads.

How is is done?:

  • Go for the edges. Challenge yourself and your team to describe what those edges are (not that you’d actually go there), and then test which edge is most likely to deliver the marketing and financial results you seek.
  • Explore the limits. What if you’re the cheapest, the fastest, the slowest, the hottest, the coldest, the easiest, the most efficient, the loudest, the most hated, the copycat, the outsider, the hardest, the oldest, the newest, the… most! If there’s a limit, you should (must) test it.

Selected tips from “Purple Cow”

  • Come up with a list of ten ways to change your product (not the hype) to make it appeal to a sliver of your audience.
  • Think small. Think of the smallest conceivable market, and describe a product that overwhelms it with its remarkability. Go from there.
  • Copy. Not from your industry, but from any other industry. Find an industry more dull than yours, discover who’s remarkable (it won’t take long), and do what they did.
  • Find things that are “just not done” in your industry, and do them.
  • Ask, “Why not?” Almost everything you don’t do has not good reason for it.

Additional words of advice…

  • Differentiate your customersFind the group that’s most profitable… Cater to the customers you’d choose if you could choose your customers.
  • Criticism comes to those who stand outIf you’re remarkable, it’s likely that some people won’t like you. That’s part of the definition of remarkable. Nobody gets unanimous praise – ever.

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