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Aug 07, 2006
Blog Post

How to Pick an Offer Your Customers Will Click on -- Innovative vs Boring

SUMMARY: No summary available.
By Anne Holland, President

Chances are you'll be in a brainstorming meeting this month for the big fall campaign. "What should we offer?" your team will wonder.

You'll begin to fret that the marketplace will be inundated with offers from your competitors -- you know how crazy the fourth quarter can get. You may also fret that offers for your actual product are, well, a bit boring. Who really wants yet another coupon, shipping offer or white paper? Blah, blah, blah.

Shouldn't you position your brand as new-exciting-innovative-attention-grabbing by offering something completely different?

It's a mistake I've made. It's a mistake I've seen a whole lot of marketers make. No one's alone.

So, I was delighted to get a note last week from the marketing folks at Meade Lexus in Southfield, MI, about an offer test they ran in May for their service center.

As you'll see from the photo in the link at the end of this
column, Meade built their service brand around being extremely creative and innovative. How? Well, the waiting room in the service center is ultra-luxurious with leather chairs, potted ferns, flat-screen TVs, an espresso bar and a fireplace complete with crackling fire.

Meade had 3,390 past customers and opt-in prospects to email. Naturally, they decided to feature a photo of their lovely waiting room in the email. But, what should the offer be?

Should it be something boring such as a 10% off service coupon, or should it be something innovative and classy such as a wine set? In the end, they decided to test both. You can guess from the tone of this blog which offer won.

But, my gosh, the amount of the difference in response was astonishing. 271 email recipients scheduled service because they wanted that 10% offer. Only 20 scheduled asking for their wine set.

Lesson -- the offer that relates *directly* to your product or service is nearly always the one that will win any test. Here's a sample of Meade's campaign so you can see for yourself:

P.S. Completely off subject but I've gotten a lot of Sherpa Reader letters and wanted to respond. ... Yes, we've switched the format of our newsletters and are testing what works best -- left column vs right column. I'll let you know what wins in a few weeks.

In addition, after *months* of site redesign hell (if you've ever led a site revamp you know what I mean), we've just launched Stage One of the overhaul. It's a bit buggy yet, plus it's still a project in process (you have no idea the delights we've dreamed up for you!) But, huge-sigh-of-relief, at least the first part is launched.

Biggest changes?

#1. Way, way, way better search engine for Sherpa so now you can find what you're looking for much more easily. (My thanks to WebSideStory Search for their help with this.)

#2. Now you can post your comments and feedback directly on stories! Click on any story below to go online to try it out.

In the meantime, please do contact me directly with comments and suggestions -- we're building this site for you after all!

See Also:

Comments about this Blog Entry

Aug 07, 2006 - David of Gage says:
Regarding the Lexus "test", the link you provided demonstrates that the offer of free wine set was presented very poorly. Other lessons learned could include: -- When making a unique offer, be sure to explain what it actually is and what is included -- clearly and quickly. An offer consumers understand will always win. -- When you have a unique offer, don't let it fall flat by not presenting it in an exciting and intriguing way.

Aug 07, 2006 - carol of AACN says:
I believe the primary reason the 10% off pulled so much more than a wine set, is because 10% off can total up to quite a bit more than a wine glass set. - so my question here: Is this really an example of innovative vs. boring or is it just a plain imbalance in the value of the offers.

Aug 07, 2006 - of Elliot Seminar Marketing says:
Some seminar/event marketing offers that work well include; (1) Register now, pay later, (2) Only 10 seats left…assuming there is an enrollment limit (3) Preferred seating if prospects book by given date( This is the front row where attendees don't usually want to sit) 4. Breakfast with your big name speaker) 5. Free best selling book, worth $95 (Always impute value to the premium) 6. Extend the early bird discount for the prospect 7. Free white paper as soon as they book 8. Free drawing for another seminar 9. Hotel room block is being released and 10. Prospects get a free drawstring backpack as soon as they book ( from )

Aug 10, 2006 - Tim of Kascoop Technology says:
I would also agree that the wine set offer was not presented well at all. My first reaction to the landing page with the wine set photo was "what is that?...what are those things in the photo?" If one doesn't have an immediate understanding on what the offer is why would they bother to pursue it vs. a competing offer, i.e. 10% off, that is clear and doesn't require much thinking. So, I wouldn't put too much stock in this example.

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