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On-the-edge is far safer than status quo!
on July 5, 2004
I'm a big fan of Seth Godin. His books Permission Marketing, Unleashing the Idea Virus, Purple Cow, and The Big Red Fez continue impact me on an almost daily basis. One thing I love about Seth is that he persuasively argues that in today's economy thinking on-the-edge is far safer than maintaining the status quo.
In Purple Cow, Seth argued that businesses and nonprofits need to be remarkable in order to survive. Being remarkable means that people will tell their friends about your product or service. Purple Cow was a thought provoking book but was lacking in helping readers implement the ideas. Free Prize Inside takes it the next step and shows us how to market and create remarkable changes in our organizations.
Free Prize Inside is divided into three sections:
* Why You Need a Free Prize
* Selling the Idea
* Creating the Free Prize
A "free prize" is a soft innovation. Seth builds the case for the urgent need of people in all organizations, including nonprofits, to be championing soft innovations. Soft innovations are the "clever, insightful, useful small ideas that just about anyone in an organization can think up." A free prize may seem like a gimmick at first but it actually becomes an essential part of your product or service. We all know what our favorite cereal tastes like, but it becomes irresistible when we see we can get a free prize inside the box. To illustrate his point, Seth is selling the first printing of this book in a special-made cereal box! You can pre-order a copy at Amazon.com.
He's convinced that anyone can come up with a free prize inside. The problem comes when we share it with others. Seth says our co-workers or boss, ask three basic questions:
1. Is this idea doable?
2. Is it worth doing?
3. Are you the one able to do it successfully?
If they aren't able to answer "yes" to all three questions, they won't join you, and the idea will die. The second section of the book is dedicated to specifically showing us how to keep our innovations alive by championing them and winning the support of others. After all, creating a free prize isn't important if we can't sell it to our organization.
The last section is dedicated to creating the free prizes. What would make your organization remarkable? Here Seth introduces his new concept of "edgecraft." He explains, "You're...caught in the center of a web of boring. The goal of edgecraft is to pick an edge (there are hundreds to choose from) and go all the way with it-even a little further than that if you can. Moving a little is expensive and useless. Moving a lot is actually cheaper in the long run and loaded with wonderful possibilities."
Donuts are boring but Krispy Kreme found an edge and made them sensational. Netflix did the same with movie rentals. They created a free prize by transforming the rental experience and created a very loyal customer following. The United Way found free prize when they discovered the concept of payroll deduction. Pushing that edge has helped them raised a lot of money!
Free Prize Inside is an inspiring and practical way for us to find our organization's edges and push for a free prize. It comes with extensive endnotes that cite Seth's sources, expand on points, and point you to great information on the web. I particularly appreciate Seth's constant attention to the nonprofit sector throughout the book. I highly recommend getting a copy. And, if you order it before it's published in May, you can still get it in a cereal box!