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Pricing And The Paradox Of Choice

While discussing pricing strategies and product line offerings with a client, I was reminded of a great TEDTalk by Barry Schwartz entitled The Paradox of Choice.

In the talk, he encourages us to break through the assumption that more choice equals more freedom and realize that we are often crippled by choice. In regards to marketing, people often refrain from purchasing something altogether if there are too many choices. Below is the TEDTalk. I consider it to be one of the most informative AND one of the most entertaining.

If you don’t have twenty minutes to spare, here’s a quick breakdown of Barry’s talk.

We all know what is good about choice. Here’s what’s bad:

Paradoxically, choices cause paralysis rather than liberation.

Example: Investment records from Vanguard have shown that for every ten voluntary retirement funds that were offered by an employer, ten percent fewer employees participated. With 50 funds to choose from, the fact that it was so hard to decide resulted in procrastination and a tomorrow that never came. Significant matching money (as much as $500/year was passed up).

Further, even if we overcome the paralysis of a decision that has many alternatives, regret is induced. This regret subtracts from the satisfaction of the choice that was made – even if the decision made was good and rewarding. We end up imagining the outcomes of the choices not chosen and become less content with the route that was chosen.

Example: A couple sitting on the beach in the Hamptons sits there dreaming about all the good parking spots they’re missing on West Eighty-Fifth Street in NYC. Everyone’s on holidays because it’s August and they could have prime spots in front of their building at home.

In summary, increased choices result in:
1. Paralysis
2. Regret

So, how should you apply this to your marketing strategy?
1. Don’t overwhelm your customers with too many product line and price options.
2. Don’t promise the world with your marketing and risk under-delivering. Create a situation where your customer is more than pleasantly surprised.

Video: On How To Stand Out

How do you stand out?

In Practically Radical Practically RadicalBill Taylor introduces the concept of “Vuja de thinking”. A way to look at a problem from a completely different perspective, or lens, like if this was the first time you had ever looked at this problem. (replace ‘problem’ with ‘strategy’) The book gives a lot of great examples of organizations that just think differently.  Here’s a good little PDF on Vuja De Thinking.

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The Greatest Myth About Creativity…

is that it just happens. Creativity is an art form, an unquantifiable, an intangible quality. It’s easy to claim “I am creative” then hide behind “but I have writers block” and not do anything, you’re not creative, you’re lazy.

Creativity does not just happen.  It doesn’t come out of no where at random. Creativity comes from discipline. Creativity only exists within constraints. Once you define the limits of your thinking, then and only then can you explore how far within those limits you can go.

People don’t just “become inspired”, you get inspired when you wake up every morning and create something. When you have a religious discipline for the creative process.  You have bad days and good days, brilliantly creative days and horribly useless days. The most important part isn’t the act of being creative, it’s the fact that no matter what happens the day before, you get up the next day and try again. Creativity is a habit of the relentlessly disciplined.

Product Integrity ft. Levi’s and Nudie Jeans (Video)

Video Music – Explosions in the Sky – Let Me Back In

Have you ever purchased a product and eventually lost faith in it? Whether it’s the healthy sports or vitamin drink that you feel no benefit from or the expensive sweater that starts to pill after the first wash, an unsatisfactory product that doesn’t live up to its hype can be very damaging, especially with today’s information-sharing ways, to a company or brand. Nudie Jeans’ raw denim and Levi’s Commuter Jeans are two products that live up to the hype, do what they say the will, and align with their respective companies’ values.

Nudie Jeans’ Credo

Levi’s Mission

Job 1: LEARN (Slide Show)

Before you do ANYTHING, do this:

Slide Breakdown

  • 1. Learn
  • 2. “The only way to win is to learn fasterthan everyone else.”- Eric Reis Author “The Lean Startup”
  • 3. It’s simple:If you’re not learning, you’re losing.Learn who you are.Learn who your customers are.Learn the platforms needed to connect.
  • 4. You.Don’t assume people will love you.Don’t incessantly bleed brand info.Create context, provide value, bend over backwards
  • 5. “Don’t simply spend on advertising to create an image for your business.Spend on the human capital andprocesses that will make your customer’s one-on-one experienceremarkable. The effect will be real and spread exponentially. Youradvertising will be real.”- Me Author “This Presentation”
  • 6. Platforms. It’s not about the next big thing. It’s not about social media. It’s about where people are.
  • 7. Market like it’s 2012. Not 2008. Not 2016. 2012.
  • 8. It’s simple: If you’re not learning, you’re losing. Learn who you are. Learn who your customers are. Learn the platforms needed to connect.

7 Ways to be an Awesome Person to Work With

1. Be excited to work with other people.cute-smiling-cat

If you’re always more excited to work/meet with the other person, they’re sure to have a great time meeting/working with you. When you go to a restaurant and a server is happy, it’s contagious, the same goes for when you meet with someone. If you’re happy and have a positive outlook on things, it’s difficult for others not to have the same view. As the song goes… don’t worry, be happy.

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Walks With Jeph Episode 3: Westjet (Video)

Today on walks with Jeph we talk about Westjet and the social object they’ve developed; being the “fun” airline. They tell jokes on flights, are extremely friendly, and just seem to care more than the other airlines.

Do you remember the first time you flew Westjet?  I sure do. It completely blew my mind that this airline actually wanted to make my flight more enjoyable. I went home immediately and told my parents about it and have been a loyal Westjet supporter ever since. You see, just the fact that I had to tell someone about my first experience with Westjet makes what they offer a social object.  They’ve baked the marketing right into the product and I don’t think anyone can argue the success they’ve had.

So here’s your excuse to have a crazy, wild, loud, awesome idea for your company. The next marketing meeting you host tell everyone to think about the Westjet story and how it all started.  Someone had the idea of telling jokes on flights. Even more importantly, someone high up in that company liked the idea and gave them permission to try it.

A smart culture breeds smart ideas.

People don't pay attention to boring things.

Video: The Future of Marketing – Social Objects

If you think it’s social media is the future of marketing you are way off kilter.  Social media is merely a means to and ends, a tool, a medium for communication. Social media is not a strategy.

What happens when communication goes from being expensive (press releases, billboards, 30 second spot) to relatively free (website, blog, Twitter account)? We get a fire-hose of information, which makes it much more difficult to standout amongst the crowd.  (more noise than signal)

Enter Social Objects, they are the videos we share with friends, the pictures that get retweeted, the reason we tell stories about companies, the reason we remain extremely loyal to some brands.  It’s all because of social objects.  If something is worth sharing then it is a social object.  Billboards can be social objects, commercials can be social objects, products can definitely be social objects.  Anything that’s worth telling somebody about, is by definition, a social object.

As a marketer it is now your job to create social objects.

Here’s a video on Social Objects:

Sidenote:

Social objects aren’t created over night.  What usually seems like a major breakthrough, is the result of a long process of improving upon the first iteration.  The iPod for example may appear to have been a remarkable social object that happened overnight for Apple, when actually it was the product of many different versions improving upon the prior version.

Because creating a social object is difficult, many companies purposely try not to, if it was easy everyone would do it.

Video: The Only Two Reasons You Go On The Internet

There are only two reason why people go online; to either solve a problem or to entertain themselves, nothing else.

Think about it, you never just “waste time”, you’re solving a news, banking, work, vehicle, or home related problem or you’re entertaining yourself.  Gossip sites, games, the news, all forms of entertainment.  Twitter can be both, entertaining and solving a problem.  Reddit, YouTube, Facebook, are mostly entertaining but can solve problem for us.  E-mail newsletters for the most part don’t solve a problem, neither do they entertain, hence why average open rate for e-mail newsletters is dismally low.

 

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