Free Prize Inside! | Seth Godin

Summary of: Free Prize Inside!: The Next Big Marketing Idea
By: Seth Godin


Are traditional advertising campaigns leaving your company stagnant? Is it time to innovate, but big investment risks seem daunting? Don’t worry because ‘Free Prize Inside!’ by Seth Godin is here to rescue your business! This summary delves into how soft innovations – the small, manageable changes to products or services – can lead to massive profits without breaking the bank. Discover how simple yet powerful ideas can grab customers attention, create value, and how the technique of edgecraft can help you come up with innovative ways to stand out from your competition. Get ready to demystify the process of thinking big, without breaking the bank.

Rethinking Success and Innovation

In today’s fast-paced world, traditional approaches to business success, like expensive advertising campaigns and big innovations, often prove ineffective. Advertising has lost much of its power, as numerous ads and media sources blend together like white noise, leading people to tune them out. Meanwhile, large investments in game-changing innovations come with a high risk of failure, as the larger the investment, the higher the threshold for success. Now more than ever, businesses need to explore alternative paths to overcome these challenges and achieve continued growth.

Once upon a time, a struggling business could rely on either a robust advertising campaign or a groundbreaking innovation to reclaim the spotlight. The old-fashioned advertising campaigns used magazine ads or television commercials to force a product into the public’s eye. However, this approach lost its potency as the years wore on, and an ever-increasing volume of advertisements has led to the public simply tuning them out.

Groundbreaking innovations, the other tried-and-true method, follow the concept that creating something entirely new and desirable with no current competition allows a company to charge premium prices and therefore reap massive profits. At least, that’s the simplified thinking behind pouring money into large technology projects, product roll-outs, or research and development programs. But the logic isn’t without its flaws.

In the late 1990s, the telecommunications company Iridium got a wake-up call when their $3 billion investment in communication satellites turned out to be an explosive gamble. The launch of 66 satellites into orbit resulted in not recouping their investment but bankruptcy. Clearly, substantial innovations also carry substantial risks.

When companies invest large sums of money into innovations hoping to break into a new market or scoop up high profit margins, they often fail to remember the flip side of the coin. The larger the financial risk, the higher the pressure to not only break even but also turn a profit. By banking everything on massive projects, businesses risk opening themselves up to colossal setbacks.

Given that the previous paths to success have grown increasingly ineffective in our modern era, businesses must now search for alternatives that consider these changes and allow for continued progress. The answer to this challenge lies in rethinking what it truly means to be successful and innovative, and embracing a fresh mindset to drive growth in a rapidly-evolving landscape.

Profit from Small-Scale Inventions

The modern era brings a common belief that groundbreaking innovation is the door to success. However, in this highly competitive and technologically advanced world, true revolutionary advancements are rare and require immense resources. Instead, smaller-scale inventions, or “soft innovations,” are a more attainable and profitable option for businesses today. While not all soft innovations achieve massive success, they are more feasible and accessible, offering organizations lower risks and costs compared to groundbreaking innovations.

Gone are the days when radical innovations like Thomas Edison’s light bulb sparked society-transforming change. In today’s technologically advanced world, replicating such massive impacts is a daunting task for businesses. Groundbreaking innovations now entail tremendous research, development costs, and risks, making them out-of-reach for most organizations.

However, a realistic and lucrative alternative lies in soft innovations. These clever, small-scale inventions can produce significant results without the necessity of extensive funding or expertise. More importantly, they offer a more stable and less risky route to achieving success in today’s economy.

Soft innovations encompasse a wide array of ideas, from unique smartphone pricing plans to unconventional product designs, such as purple ketchup. Although these smaller-scale inventions may not carry the same wow factor as groundbreaking, futuristic technologies, they offer a world of profitable opportunities. These innovations are also within reach for most organizations, allowing businesses of varying sizes and capabilities to make substantial progress without massive research and development departments.

It’s crucial to recognize that not all soft innovations will become game-changers. Certain ideas will stand out from the crowd, while others may fall into obscurity. Diligently evaluating and identifying the most promising soft innovations helps distinguish the higher-impact ideas from the less successful ones. In the end, tapping into the potential of these small-scale advancements can offer a more plausible and profitable path in our rapidly evolving world.

Remarkable Products Spark Conversations

To create a buzz for your product or service, make it remarkable and desirable by adding unexpected, bonus features. Tiny, impactful changes can greatly enhance the main product and become key talking points, encouraging satisfied customers to recommend the product to their friends, boosting sales, and creating a memorable experience.

Think back to when you last discovered an exciting new product. Most likely, it caught your attention through word-of-mouth rather than conventional advertising. This form of organic marketing is increasingly popular and effective today, as people prefer to recommend exceptional products to their friends and family.

To make your product or service truly stand out, you need to make it remarkable and desirable. That is, you need to give customers something worth talking about. These features or experiences don’t have to be the main selling point—they could be small yet unexpected perks that make a significant difference.

Imagine owning a ski resort along with an incredible on-site Mexican restaurant. Although the primary reason people visit the resort is to ski, the fantastic dining experience becomes an added bonus that leaves a lasting memory. Encouraged by their positive experience, visitors share their excitement with friends, spreading the word about your exceptional Mexican restaurant.

These small extras not only make your product or service remarkable; they also add desirability by tapping into secondary consumer desires. People aren’t solely looking for an opportunity to ski or eat a delicious meal; they crave fun, unique experiences. In the case of the ski resort, the on-site Mexican restaurant elevates the overall vacation experience, as it caters to visitors’ leisure appetites.

Similarly, seemingly unrelated bonus features can positively impact consumer choices. For example, a beautiful design or a luxury brand name attached to a watch adds to its desirability, even though its primary function is to tell time. These factors weigh heavily on purchasing decisions, and providing such features can lead to customers promoting your product to others.

Keep an eye out for soft innovations—small-scale changes that yield big results. By making your product or service remarkable and desirable, you offer both the customer and the company a free prize. The customer receives a delightful side benefit, while the company enjoys a low-cost method of boosting sales and increasing their visibility in the market. It’s as close to a win-win situation as you can come in business.

Mastering Edgecraft

Edgecraft is a technique that enables you to identify a soft innovation that can give your product or service a remarkable and desirable edge. By pushing an aspect of your product or service as far as it can go, edgecraft helps you create buzz-worthy offerings and stay ahead of the competition. Don’t be boring – uncover your edge and make your product or service truly stand out.

All you need to do to make your product or service remarkable is to find a unique, free feature that will get people talking. It might sound like a tall order but, in reality, it’s quite manageable if you employ edgecraft – the art of adding an enticing edge to your offerings.

Making your product or service remarkable means making it edgy, as the alternative is to be dull and forgettable. For instance, if you run a security company and your guards wear standard uniforms, there’s nothing intriguing or buzz-worthy there. Now, imagine they wore high-tech, Matrix-style black latex coats – it’s automatically more interesting and has people talking.

In order to make your product or service edgy using edgecraft, start by finding an aspect that can be taken to the extreme. Be bold and take it all the way to the boundary – not stopping halfway or being safe. Your product or service likely has many edges that can be pushed to the limit. The challenge lies in identifying one of these and then going all-in on that edge.

Consider the case of a restaurant owner looking to revamp the dining experience. There are numerous aspects one could change: menu, chef, décor, location or the waitstaff. Focusing on the waitstaff, one could make them remarkable by hiring only attractive individuals. If they were only slightly attractive, you’d be far from the edge, but what if all your waitstaff were supermodels, bodybuilders, or twins? That’s a powerful edge!

It’s crucial not to play it safe when working with edgecraft. Playing it safe leads to mediocrity and that won’t garner much attention, let alone sales. Embrace the art of edgecraft, discover your unique edge, and watch your product or service become the talk of the town.

Unleashing Edgecraft Innovation

To spark innovative ideas for your own business, take inspiration from edgecraft principles in other industries. Begin by selecting a successful product, service, or business from a different industry. Investigate and identify the innovative edge that sets them apart. Analyze the underlying principle behind this edge and adapt it to fit your own business.

Diving into the world of edgecraft, envision a product, service, or business that you want to propel to new heights but have no idea where to start. Developing an innovative idea may seem like a daunting task, but it can be simplified with a four-step process. The key message here is to think outside the box by gleaning inspiration from outside your industry.

Begin by selecting a product, service, or business from a completely different industry than your own. Let’s say you have a hardware store and choose a restaurant as an example. Next, find a business in that industry that achieves extraordinary success through a unique edge. For instance, imagine a popular local restaurant that has become a fan favorite due to its weekly all-you-can-eat chili pepper night.

Now, identify the business’s edge. On the surface, it might seem like the chili pepper night is the secret to its success. However, dig deeper to uncover the true principle behind the weekly event. What makes it so irresistible? What is it about the special night that chimneys with the customers? Consider what desire it fulfills or what experience captivates the patrons. In this case, the answer is excessiveness – customers can indulge their cravings without limits for one night.

While hosting a chili pepper night at a hardware store might be odd, the underlying principle of excessiveness can be adapted. Get creative and apply this idea to your own business to craft a captivating edge. For example, your hardware store could host an “all-you-can-carry bricks” event, where customers pay a fixed price and can take home as many bricks as they can physically carry.

By studying successful edgecraft examples in different industries, you unravel underlying principles that can be used to innovate your own business. This approach helps create a distinctive edge that sets you apart and drives success. As you continue to explore the transformative power of edgecraft, draw inspiration from these examples to unlock innovation in your own sphere.

Unleashing Imagination with Edges

Exploring edges allows you to create unique and impactful products or services. By focusing on visibility and variety, one can create products that stand out from the competition. Imagination is the only limit to the edges you can explore, leading to intriguing, counterintuitive offerings.

Have you ever thought about how simple adjustments can make a significant difference? Edges are all about that. Just about any adjective can become an edge, and the possibilities are endless. Let’s dive into some notable examples in the art of edgecraft.

Edges often revolve around visibility. Turn invisible products, services, or businesses into something highly visible. For instance, a massage parlor can make its services more visible by placing massage chairs on the sidewalk. But visibility doesn’t always mean literal sight. A standard-looking car might not be invisible, but it can be inconspicuous, blending into the countless similar cars on the road. In contrast, the Volkswagen Beetle’s design ensures it stands out, making it “visible” in the sense of being highly noticeable.

On the flip side, some products and services benefit from invisibility. Take the old metallic braces versus modern transparent braces – the latter surely brings a smile to many faces.

Edges can be found by taking one concept and moving in the opposite direction. For example, let’s examine variety. Mike’s Famous Harley-Davidson dealership in Delaware delights customers with its vast selection of motorcycles. However, the popular In-N-Out burger chain thrives on offering only seven items on its menu. Examining these seemingly opposite edges demonstrates how going against the norm can create an attractive selling point.

Edges often involve counterintuitive approaches. You might think having extended hours of operation would be beneficial for a store. And yes, people do love 24/7 shops. But consider a shoe store only open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays – it would pique customers’ curiosity, making them eager to visit during these limited hours.

The takeaway here is that you can explore various edges to transform everyday products or services into something captivating. The extent of the edges you can discover depends solely on your imagination. So, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and embrace the unconventional, as these edges might be the key to success in a competitive market.

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