Category Compelling Offers

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Call in the Next Ten Minutes…

By Rajesh Setty on Wed 17 Feb 2010, 12:01 AM – Leave Comment

You’ve probably seen those thirty-minute, late-night television infomercials that tell you a story about a product in all its glory.

After about twenty minutes into the commercial, you have been repeatedly told that your life is incomplete without this latest gizmo. You’ve heard others enthusiastically state how the item changed their lives and brought them health, wealth, happiness, and love.

Strangely, it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s a vegetable juicer, a home fitness implement that fits within a doorframe, a diet system, or a miraculously absorbent towel from Germany. Suddenly, you start to feel the gap in your life!

You start wondering – how much does this gizmo cost?

Well, the marketers have anticipated your question. But they won’t tell you the answer just yet—no, let’s hear another testimonial first.

Even after that, they won’t divulge the actual price right away. If they give away the actual price at that point, you may think it’s too high. So, the strategy is to reveal the price and make you feel lucky when you finally hear it. It goes something like this:

“Let me tell you. Typically, items like this one sell for six hundred dollars or more. However, today we’re offering you a very special deal. We’re not going to sell this for six hundred dollars.”

“At three hundred dollars, it’d be a steal. But that’s not what we’re going to sell it for.”

“At one hundred dollars, you’d see a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“Today, it’s only ninety-seven dollars. This introductory offer applies to just the first thousand orders. We still have 390 items left. So call now!”

You are thinking that this may be your chance to be in the “exclusive” club of people who will own this for a song. Compared to $600, $97 looks like a steal.

As you are thinking about it, there is an announcement.

“Wait, here is a special deal. If you call in the next ten minutes, we want to offer you one extra gizmo for free. You buy one and you get one for free. You can give this extra gizmo to a friend or your colleague. Do whatever you want but call in the next ten minutes. Operators are standing by. Please call now.”

That nails it.

In the first twenty minutes, you are convinced that you really need this gizmo.

In the next five minutes, you have been “educated” on the value of the object. Prior to the infomercial, you may have had no idea of the product’s cost. But now, you have a benchmark—it’s not one you invented. It’s a contextual decision based on information provided to you by the marketers. You’ve accepted their pricing frame of reference.

In the next minute, you are convinced that if you act quickly, you might be in the exclusive club of people who can own this gizmo for a song.

In the final minutes, you are convinced to act now—so you can get something for free.

Really, they tell you – you have got to act now to get in the exclusive club.

I know, I know – you are not one of those people who will fall for this kind of gimmick. You are way smarter than that. But the fact is that these infomercials are produced with big budgets and some of them produce millions of dollars in sales.

Someone out there is falling for this marketing approach, for sure.

And if you remember, the Bernie Madoff scheme required investors to be part of the “in” network. When people see an opportunity too good to be true, they misapply their frame of reference. They want to believe. They want to act, because they fear that they will be missing a great opportunity.

Instead of asking “What if this offer were true?” maybe we should ask, “Are there some reasons that this offer isn’t as good as it seems?”


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Posted under Compelling Offers, Main Page.

Watch the stories (pun intended)

By Rajesh Setty on Tue 16 Feb 2010, 12:01 AM – Leave Comment

You can check the time on your cell phone. Or you could buy a reasonably good watch for less than $100.

So, why would anyone buy a watch that is north of $2500.

Obviously not just to check the time.

So, it must be the stories that the watch makers tell about why you need to buy them.

Here are some samples (photos from the world’s largest mall in Dubai)

First, let us take Omega.

You may want to buy it because it is George Clooney’s choice.

That doesn’t cut it? OK this should do it.  Omega is also Zhang Ziyi’s choice

Second, Jaeger-LeCoultre

Jaeger-LaCoultre thinks you might have never really worn a real watch (that is unless you own a Jaeger-LaCoutre)

Third, Tag Heuer

They have been making watches since 1860 and have a rich history. Plus, you might want a watch that is accurate to a 1/100 of a second.

Fourth and final, Patek Phillippe

You have to look at them because it is multi-generational story. According to them, you never really “own” a watch. You just take care of them for the next generation.

Convinced yet?

Posted under Business Models, Compelling Offers.

A killer app – “Free” + “Social Proof” + Now!

By Rajesh Setty on Sun 07 Feb 2010, 12:01 AM – 4 Comments

The other day, I was at the Campbell post office standing in the line waiting for my turn. It was a long line so (as usual) I was busy browsing a book. The person in front of me brought me out of my dream when he stepped out asking me to hold his place. I nodded and continued reading.

I couldn’t help notice what the person did.

There was a box to drop off a business card to win a prize at the end of the month. The person dropped off his business card and walked back. I looked at the box again. There were probably 200 other business cards in the box.

Not fully believing what I just saw, I struck a conversation with the person in front.

I asked, “So, what exactly is the prize they are promising?”

He said, “No clue on that one.”

I asked, “But you put in your business card in there…”

He said, “Yeah, what’s there to lose. There are hundreds of them who have already put in their business card. They can’t be wrong.”

We both smiled and ended the conversation there.

I couldn’t help thinking about what happened.

1. There is something “free” that is promised. Don’t know what that is.

2. Around 200 other people thought it was good to get that “free” thing and opted in to the offer

3. A new person thought that if 200 other people are not wrong, he can’t be wrong.

4. It takes only a second (and a business card) to opt-in to the offer

5. The new person takes the bait and opts in to the offer.

Just a simple example that the combination of “Free,” “Social Proof” and “Now” is a killer combination.

Have a great day.

Other articles on the concept of “Free”:

1. Jan 3, 2010: The case for “Free” (again)

2. Jan 12, 2010: The “Free” Dilemma – Bits vs Atoms

3. Feb 3, 2009: The business case for giving away your best work for free

Posted under Business Models, Compelling Offers.

Behind the Scenes of the “Power of Scale”

By Rajesh Setty on Mon 01 Feb 2010, 12:01 AM – Leave Comment

I had an opportunity to see the work-in-progress for an awesome project (featured above) by EDF called “The Power of Scale.” The outcome of the project was a 90-second video. The video is about something that we should all be concerned about – energy and what we can do about it to save OUR world.

You can see the video and see the brilliance of thinking, design and delivery for yourself but before that, I wanted to get you “behind the scenes” of this project. Here is the story about how the story got developed in the words of Justin Evans of Stresslimitdesign.

We were approached by EDF earlier this year to make a short video that help introduce and popularize the concept of reducing pollution across corporate car fleets. After reviewing a ton of whitepapers, infosheets and case studies, we realized that at the core of this initiative was a simple story about  a quantity of little actions, that when put all together and applied across the huge number of fleet cars in America, would cause vast pollution reduction and huge money savings. Our visual research led us to Charle’s and Ray Eames Classic film “Powers of 10“. Repeated watching of this and other films of theirs helped us come up with a cool visual language, but also gave us the great central metaphor to tell EDF’s story as a story of  “power of scale”.

Once we had this central concept the idea of the story fell quickly into place:

1. Establish the idea from something that everyone is familiar with

Establish the idea from simple stories of scale that everyone can identify with- in this case how much faster it is to pick up trash when you are 50 people instead of one. We then decided to reinforce this with the great visual story of telling just how much energy can be saved when everyone in a city block turning off their lights at the same time.

2. What’s a Fleet?

Once we established the story of scale, it was time to tell the story of the fleets. Starting out, none of us even knew what a fleet was. A parking lot, and some cool timelapse photography gave us a great way to talk about what fleets are, and the simple things that they can do to save energy

3. The power of scale

Having established our protagonist, The fleet driver, we then introduce the story of scale- by using small matchbox cars to illustrate the huge number of cars there are, it becomes quickly apparent how these small actions taken by one driver in the parking lot can make a huge difference when everyone does them. EDF’s statistics and predictions come to life as our little cars drive in and out of configuration.

To make the message visually exciting we chose to shoot using a combination of Tilt-Shift photography; a technique when used with highly saturated and colorful images, makes landscapes and humans look like miniature models. Combined with the effect of time-lapse photography, time appears to fly by very rapidly. And finally we did a bit of stop motion animation using actual models! All the visuals were done using a Digital Single Lens Relex (DSLR) camera Tilt-Shift lens, and a traditional lens. Playing with the concept of models and scale became a great way to illustrate visually the central metaphor of the story we were telling.

Posted under Compelling Offers, Cool Movies, Main Page.

Faster, better and cheaper OR…

By Rajesh Setty on Thu 28 Jan 2010, 12:01 AM – 7 Comments

I watched the keynote speech for iPad and was fascinated by what I saw. For those of you who missed it, you can now watch it on the Apple website at the link below:

This post is not about singing praises for iPad but simply to highlight how the iPad has been positioned to make the Kindle or any other e-reader irrelevant.

How did they do that?

First, by simply by making it clear to everyone that with an iPad you get (almost) everything that Kindle offers for no additional cost.And, you don’t have to carry another device to carry your digital books.

Second, by making it clear (in case it was not clear from the above slide) by stating it explicitly. Steve Jobs said,

“Amazon has done a great job pioneering this functionality with their Kindle. And we are going to stand on their shoulders and go little further.”

Third, by announcing current Publisher support and giving a sneak peek of future publisher support.

I am confident that Amazon and others out there are busy updating their battle plans on how to counter this.

Just shows that one cannot stop innovating wherever they are in their lifecycle. Time will tell how this will play out in the next few months and years.

I want to leave you with a quote from #ThinkTweet that I posted about ten days ago. Here it is:


Just I was giving the final touches to this blog post, I noticed my friend Mari Smith echoing similar thoughts and couldn’t help smiling. The writing is clearly on the wall unless there is a new bag of tricks from Amazon


For an alternate viewpoint (which I disagree) you can read a NYT piece by Brad Stone

Three Reasons Why the iPad WON’T Kill Amazon’s Kindle

You be the judge!

***** Update at 11:37 am (hat tip: Guy Kawasaki)

Please watch this quick video where Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) shares his opinion about iPad. Most of his two minute talk is about how iPad will be a better eBook reader

Posted under Business Models, Compelling Offers.

Why Seth Godin’s new book “LINCHPIN” is BRILLIANT and SCARY

By Rajesh Setty on Tue 26 Jan 2010, 12:01 AM – 6 Comments

Seth Godin is one of my heroes and my work is hugely influenced by his work. I couldn’t wait to read his new book “LINCHPIN.” ( It was an honor to see my photo in the inside cover)

I thought I will finish reading this book on the same day that I got my hands on it. Boy, was I wrong.

Today is the launch of Seth Godin’s new book “LINCHPIN.”

In general, it takes me a day or two to complete reading a business book. LINCHPIN was different in many respects. I couldn’t complete reading the book for full two weeks. It was not a comfortable read by any means.


First, it was a different kind of book.

Second, it was a different kind of book compared to Seth’s earlier books.

Let us look at the themes of some of the previous books by Seth:

1. In “Permission Marketing” talks about earning the permission of your audience before you sell something. If you don’t do that, you might not get the kind of results that you will get with permission. In other words, without permission marketing, results will be mediocre.

2. “Purple Cow” was about doing something remarkable. People will remark if you do something “remark”able. In other words, if you don’t do something remarkable, you will get mediocre results.

3. In “Free Prize Inside,” Seth’s focus was on how to make your offers better. What could you include that the audience would consider as “free prize” and get more attracted.

In LINCHPIN, Seth focuses on BEING rather than DOING. Seth’s compassionate plea is for everyone to “be” an artist – be a Linchpin rather than a cog in the wheel.

There is no premium paid for “being” a cog in the wheel. Not just that, your survival is at stake if you continue “being” a cog in the wheel. So, it is not like you have a choice on whether you want to do something different. You don’t have a choice but to start “being” a different person – an artist – someone who creates.

The book is BRILLIANT because it’s a wake-up call for most professionals. Wake up call to let them know that they are heading towards a cliff if they continue “being” who they are.

The book is SCARY because of the timing. It clearly shows that professionals neither have a choice or a LOT OF TIME to debate on this. They have to start “being” an artist NOW. No other choice.

Knowing how busy Seth is, I asked only one question to Seth and here is that question and Seth’s response.

Rajesh: Seth, I love LINCHPIN and am most certain that I will re-read it in the next few days. Knowing the speed at which the publishing industry works, I am sure you have thought about LINCHPIN after the book had gone to print. What are a few things that you would have included on this topic if the book went to print TODAY?

Seth: After you’ve written a few books, you realize that the publishing industry works at its own pace. A blog post takes three minutes to reach the world, a book takes 9 months (if you hurry). The book I wrote was written knowing that people might read it a year or two or ten after I wrote it. So I pushed myself to avoid the solace of recency and the shortcut of the immediate and instead tried to write something that might make you a bit uncomfortable (it certainly made me uncomfortable when I was writing it!).

The short answer is that I wouldn’t change a word.


I have scheduled a bunch of tweets starting 3am PST with some selected insights from LINCHPIN. There will be a tweet every 30 minutes. You can follow them here on Twitter: @UpbeatNow (under hashtag #LINCHPIN)

Posted under Announcement, Compelling Offers.

When you are not working…

By Rajesh Setty on Sun 24 Jan 2010, 12:01 AM – 10 Comments

Photo Courtesy: Brunkfordbraun on Flickr

When you are not working, are your assets working?

A simple way to get leverage in your life is to have your assets working when you are not working.

For example, writing a “good” blog will serve as an asset. Engaging on Twitter with a “good strategy” can also serve as an asset. Noticing the difference between these two is very important as the former is leaning more towards bits and the latter is leaning more towards atoms. People are looking for thought leadership ( can be heavy on bits ) and the same people are looking for engagement on Twitter ( need to be heavy on atoms )

Since you have only 24 hours (and we are not in the industrial age anymore) you cannot scale using you the strength of your body. That was yesterday. Today, the scaling happens with the power of your mind – your creativity, your intellect, your relationships, your past accomplishments etc. If I have to sum up in one sentence, your scale comes from your “valuable contributions” that help people to “get away from places they don’t want to be” or “go towards places where they want to go.”

Such valuable contributions are your assets.

These assets work when you are not working. They provide the scale. They provide the leverage.

However, creating those assets are not easy. Think about it – if any asset has to be broadly applicable to address a concern, it has to be sufficiently abstract but it should also be reasonably practical so that it can be put to use. Now, to create that would require a lot of thinking and hard work. And, it cannot be done overnight. That’s precisely the reason most people won’t do it. And, that’s precisely the reason why you should.

Go ahead and create those assets so that they can work for you when you are not working…

Posted under Compelling Offers.

The link exchange problem and what you can learn from it.

By Rajesh Setty on Thu 21 Jan 2010, 12:10 AM – Leave Comment

Photo Courtesy: Leo Reynolds on Flickr

A typical link exchange request looks something like this ( if you have already seen a lot of link exchange requests, you don’t need to read the email below.

Dear Target-Website-Owner,

My name is Link Hunter and I manage and operate the recently re-launched website Our site caters to the luxury real estate community in the United States and Canada.  Our site contains luxury home listings in every Canadian Province and US state as well as several other countries.  As one of the premier destinations online for luxury real estate we would like to exchange links with websites such as yours.

If you are interested in having your website listed in our partners directory please link back to our site using one of the following text links:

1) Luxury Homes  – Visit the internets destination for luxury homes and real estate.

2) Luxury Home Listings – Visit the internets #1 destination for luxury real estate. Find info on luxury homes in your area.

3) Luxury Real Estate – Looking for your dream home. Visit Luxury Home Web to find luxury homes for sale or rent in your area.

To select from a larger variety of text links and banners please visit our partners exchange page at:

We are limiting our site to a maximum of 100 partners so you can be sure you will have good visibility.

Once you have provided a link to our site simply fill in our automated web form on the page above and we will add your site to our directory.

Link Hunter

Now, let us look at this from a Link Hunter’s perspective. The deal is simple – they will send you a link and they are asking you to send a link back. So it must be a fair transaction.

So, why do so many people get annoyed when they get a link exchange request?

The answer is simply that the faulty assumption:

Similar actions will create a similar impact

This is an example of a seemingly win-win relationship which is mostly one-sided.

Depending on what their website is, the value of the link from them won’t be equal to the value of the link they are getting back although the actions are same – LINKING.

While the actions make it look like an equal transactions, the varying impact of these actions show that it is a totally unfair transaction.

Hence the problem.

Now, that was a link exchange scenario. So we can talk about it without any emotional attachment. But, unfortunately this happens all the time in real life too. IN the name of creating win-win relationships, people propose business arrangements that are equal in “action” but totally lopsided in “impact.” Then they wonder why people are not able to “get” it.

So, here is the final comment:

Even if you are not engaging in such practices, you should be alert to notice others who (knowingly or urn-knowingly) proposes lopsided “win-win” relationships.

Posted under Business Models, Compelling Offers.

Top 10+1 Content Marketing Tips for 2010; Free eBook Download

By Rajesh Setty on Wed 20 Jan 2010, 3:05 AM – 2 Comments

Ambal Balakrishnan (@ambal) from ClickDocuments (@clickdocuments) asked  top experts in Content Marketing, B2B Marketing and Social Media Marketing to share their predictions on how the world of content marketing will evolve in 2010. The effort was sponsored by Marketo.

The result: ClickPredictions 2010 eBook

Here are the top 10+1 Tips for Content Marketing in 2010

(all based on the predictions in the book)

1. Interruptive, “tell-and-sell” marketing is a thing of the past
2. Don’t follow the crowd.
3. Get visual!
4. Grow more ears.
5. Think about engagement
6. ROI realities emerge. Pay attention to them.
7. Don’t forget the recession.
8. Scale back the volume; it’s quality that matters
9. Understand your sales process and funnel.
10. Find the writers inside your organization.
11. Bonus Tip: It’s not the size of your megaphone that matters; it’s the size of your customers’ megaphones.

Ambal and I want to thank everyone (especially the contributors, the sponsor and the team at Stresslimitdesign) for making this happen.

You can read more about the eBook and download it on the ClickDocuments site. Here is the link:

ClickDocuments: ClickPredictions 2010 eBook (FREE download)

Have a great day.

Posted under Announcement, Compelling Offers.

Just one more step…

By Rajesh Setty on Sat 02 Jan 2010, 12:10 AM – Leave Comment

Last week, I happened to be at Marie Callender’s restaurant and noticed a wine bottle on the table. It was part of a promotion called Wine Wednesday. On Wednesdays any wine bottle is half off. I don’t drink wine so it was not attractive for me anyway but upon further poking around, I found that they have been quite successful with that promotion.

While the 50% off seems like a good deal, what they did to promote the offer was also impressive. They could have kept a flyer talking about the wine bottle. Rather than that, they went one step ahead and kept the wine bottle there. One more step and the customer can get whatever they wanted.

One more step and that’s it.

It is the same model with Amazon 1-Click ordering. You are browsing the site and you like a book (or anything) and all you need to do is click the button once and the item is on its way. You can call it as an “incentive for impulse buying” or you can say that the feature is there for convenience of time-starved people or whatever you want but the deal is simple – just one more step and you can get what is being offered.

Just one more step!

There is so much to learn and may be you can think about how you can use this or a variance of this in your own business.

Posted under Compelling Offers.