February 18, 2009

Gift Wrap Like Amazon.com


How Does Amazon.com Make Product Packaging Look Cool Again?

Here’s a tip that works if you’re in the business of selling physical products, and deal with product packaging or gift wraps.

In November 2008, Amazon launched it’s Frustration-Free Packaging aimed at getting rid of “wrap rage“. It’s a simple concept, with great potential to be a green initiative and buzz marketing tactic.

The letter below from CEO Jeff Bezos (and this video) sums it up nicely:

How Has Amazon.com Capitalized on Frustration-Free Packaging?

The range of products with Frustration-Free Packaging is still limited (19 on my last count).

But just look at what they’ve done to create that buzz marketing effect:

  • Ranked #1 on Google with over 200,000 results for the term “frustration-free packaging” – think press releases, climate change articles, and more
  • Over 25,000 blog mentions
  • They encouraged customers to send in photos and videos to show how frustrating packaging can be for them – this would have attracted more traffic if it ran off YouTube or Flickr

How is Your Business Wrapping Products Today?

Can you think of ways to make your product packaging simpler or even better than your competitors?

Here are two things you can learn from Amazon.com’s Frustration-Free Packaging:

  • Eliminating “stuff” from your packaging won’t make it any less meaningful
  • That any simple small change in your business is worth “shouting” about

February 13, 2009

Warning: $900 Million Will Be Lost on Friday the 13th — How Much of it Is Yours?


Up to $900 million in business revenue will be lost on Friday the 13th. There are three Friday the 13th’s in 2009 — is your business prepared for it?

A reported 9 percent of Americans are paraskevidekatriaphobics (fear of Friday the 13th), and studies have shown that $800 million to $900 million in business revenue is lost on this ominous date.

But It’s Just An Ordinary Day

Some may argue that it’s just an ordinary day. In fact, that’s true. However, a proportion of your customers believe that there are certain psychological benefits, such as more confidence and a sense of comfort, linked to superstitious rituals.

Jennifer Wang summarizes this point in her article:

… hundreds of millions of dollars are lost on Friday the 13th because humans are naturally risk-averse. Although it’s not always done consciously, there’s a tendency toward less decision-making, Block says. “People don’t do as much shopping and don’t leave the house — and there’s less flying.” But by simply making people aware of superstitious behavior, it can bring out their more rational side, reminding them it’s just an ordinary day.

What Can You Do About It?

Don’t wait to lose money on Friday the 13th.

Instead start thinking about the types of customers in your market.

Are a majority of your customers from Asia? Well, Asian cultures tend to be more superstitious about numbers as compared to Western cultures.

It’s also a brilliant time to play it up with some creative marketing initiatives:

  • Home store Crate & Barrel, ran a “Lucky You” campaign last year on Friday the 13th. “They played off the superstition and got people to come out anyway.” Because consumers are not always aware of the extent to which they rely on superstitions, this is perhaps one model that businesses can follow
  • And calling attention to the cursed date certainly hasn’t hurt the Friday the 13th movies. The franchise just grew to 12 films with its latest release, which came out on Feb. 13 — a Friday. The first 11 films have earned a scary $350 million, and five of them have been released on a Friday the 13th

How Would You Make the Most Out of Friday the 13th?

Perhaps your Internet business could up-sell / cross-sell a special offer that’s available only on Friday the 13th. It’s a great brand positioning method for 2009 as Friday the 13th will occur three times this year — February 13th, March 13th, and November 13th.

Or perhaps there’s a bigger opportunity for your Internet business to mix Friday the 13th and Valentine’s Day (February 14th) (read this tip)

How would you make the most out of Friday the 13th?

Leave a comment!

January 29, 2009

How A Convention Centre Gets Rid of Meeting Rooms & Why You Should Copy It


The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre recently launched a marketing campaign to get rid of spare meeting rooms during the day.

The TenOnCall campaign encourages potential customers to just walk in off the street and use a meeting room with no prior bookings. It was designed to serve an untapped, just-in-time market where the lead time is often very short. Think of businessmen needing to string together a quick meeting with consultants to meet a 24-hour deadline.

It’s obvious that if you’re in a business that holds inventory, be it physical or virtual, you have to start to think about how to to “get rid” of your “spares” (and profit).

Lots of businesses practice this, in different forms:

  • Telcos market special promotions to push their off-peak hours — the unearthly hours between 1am to 6am when calls / SMS are usually dirt cheap
  • Airlines hold last-minute Internet promotions to get rid of their unbooked seats
  • Fast food restaurants offer special discounts for patrons during the sleepy business hours of 3pm to 5pm

So, here’s another recession marketing tip:

Search for the “spares” in your business & find a way to sell it off quickly!