The Norman Transcript


April 16, 2013

There’s a way to break rules the right way



People often don’t value services that they don’t pay for. No matter how valuable the service really is.

Over 20 years ago, I owned part of firm that did political polling. We were ahead of the technological curve and very accurate. We had a number of paying clients, but had several friends running for office who couldn’t afford us. Often in doing research, we would find something that could help our friends. The friends often ignored us while people actually paying for surveys never did.

We noticed that one of my friends had a problem in a geographic area. We told him, but his paid campaign manager had “a gut feeling” we were wrong. My gut feeling was that the campaign manager was an idiot, but the friend was paying him and not paying me. The advice was ignored; our buddy lost that area by a wide margin and the election by a tiny one.

Anderson hits on why some free products are embraced and others are not.

Two of the best ideas are wellness related. Anderson talked about doctors in China who are paid monthly when you are healthy. If you are sick, you don’t pay. It is the doctor’s job to keep you well.

A similar idea is a gym in Denmark that allows you to attend for free if you show up once a week. If you miss a week, you pay for the entire month. It reminds me of the anti-smoking plan. A combination of penalty and incentive.

The doctors in China and the gym in Denmark are plans to promote physical wellness, but they are also promoting economic wellness. They are developing models that other entrepreneurs will copy.

I’ve written five best-selling books on topics as diverse as lottery winners, Kentucky’s governor, Wall Street and golf. The only common thread is that overwhelming legions of fellow authors hate my marketing strategies.

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