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Take along your uglier brother

In today’s guest post from TED, Dan Ariely talks about why we make decisions and how we are influenced.

There are several pieces of this presentation that apply directly to traditional or online direct marketing of the stuff you do and sell, much less knowing a little more about what makes your internal decision tree tick.

Use what Dan discusses to analyze what kind of decisions you offer your customers and prospects. It’s all part of that “What do they buy the least of that they really need the most?” question. Part 2 of the question might be – “…and how do you get them to buy what they *really really* need?”

Competition Marketing Positioning Restaurants Retail Sales Small Business Strategy

Do you paralyze them with choices?

We’ve all been in barbeque places that revel in the fact that they have 100+ barbeque sauces for their customers to choose from.

Have you ever looked closely at the bottles?

In most of the places I’ve seen this, very few of the bottles appear to have been used. Opened perhaps, but that’s often it. You don’t often find 80-90 of them 50-75% full, indicating widespread use. 

Cause: Barbeque Sauce Paralysis

The result is barbeque sauce paralysis. When you have 100 choices, it takes you longer to decide which one to pick:)

If having a selection of high-quality, rare or gourmet sauces is part of the attraction you want customers to focus on, 100 sauces might not help your case.

On the other hand, if you featured 2-3 sauces per week – people would likely take more of a chance because the restaurant could offer more info about the available choices. They might even discuss them on a special menu as if they were wines (“this bbq sauce has a slight nose of vinegar and basil with a well-defined cayenne finish”).

The problem goes well beyond barbeque sauce.

Differentiate with detail

You’ve heard me talk here about offering a premium priced option for your products. More value, higher price – because there is a segment of society that always chooses it (among other reasons). What you haven’t heard me suggest is that you offer 327 premium price choices:)

This is all about making it easy to buy, while still allowing yourself to differentiate.

For more on this topic, take 20 minutes to watch this video from Barry Schwartz, who talks at TED about the “Paradox of Choice”.

The key thing to take away from this as a marketer/business owner is that you can offer too many things and force your client to make no choice at all. The chaos of choosing from 100 sauces often makes you choose the Heinz 57 – a sauce you can get anywhere. 

Is that what you really want? 

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I rescued a human today

Creative Commons License photo credit: Sugar Pond

Several times – including in the recent direct mail posts – we’ve talked about having the right conversation with your client or prospect.

About Robert Collier’s comment “Enter the conversation already taking place in the prospect’s mind”.

About looking at your business from the other side of the counter, thinking of the issues that your prospects and customers are concerned with.

I found a great example of doing that very thing today. Amazingly, it was in one of those forwarded sometimes funny, sometimes sappy, sometimes heartwarming emails that all of us get from our friends and colleagues.

I’m not sure if the author realizes the power of her writing, but I urge you to take this in and think about the role reversal and the thought process that was necessary to write something this well done.

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.

I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldnâ??t be afraid. As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didnâ??t want her to know that I hadnâ??t been walked today. Sometimes the overworked shelter keepers get too busy and I didnâ??t want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldnâ??t feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someoneâ??s life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.

I would promise to keep her safe.
I would promise to always be by her side.
I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who havenâ??t walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

Can you create the same level of empathy with your clients and prospects?

I have another example of this for tomorrow;s post: Thanksgiving in the U.S. Enjoy the turkey, but watch out for those crooked pies.


“I rescued a human today” Used with permission.

Written by Janine Allen CPDT, Rescue Me Dog’s professional dog trainer. Janine’s passion is working with people and their dogs. She provides demonstrations for those who have adopted shelter dogs, lends email support to adopted dog owners that need information beyond our Training Support Pages, and aids shelter staff and volunteers in understanding dog behavior to increase their adoptability.
Copyright 2008 Rescue Me Dog;

Competition Management Marketing Positioning Restaurants Retail Small Business The Slight Edge

Does your store or restaurant give people the urge to splurge?

Today’s guest post comes from what you might think is an unlikely source – Psychology Today.

On the other hand, as many times as we’ve talked about Cialdini and your own mindset, maybe it isn’t a surprise.

The Urge to Splurge – things to think about for retailers, restaurants, service businesses and others with public-facing business locations.

Marketing Positioning Pricing Small Business

Why do prices end in .99?

Today’s guest post from the UK offers more insight on why prices with .99 work in the US and UK and why .88 works in Asia.

There are long-standing rules of thumb that advise how to set prices, but the wise business owner knows to test everything, including pricing.

The only results that count are the ones you see from your clientele.