Jelly snakes and generosity marketing

These are jelly snakes from the Natural Confectionery Company: one of my most favourite lollies.

Except for the yellow ones. I’m not a huge fan of the yellow ones.

So when I have a packet of these delightful sweets in front of me and you saunter up and ask for one, guess which kind I offer first?

You still get a lolly snake, right?

So you’re ahead of the game there. But you’re probably not thinking, “Wow, that Catherine sure is the nicest person ever,” are you? Human nature being what it is, the thought is more likely, “Oh. Wow. Thanks.” (That was, like, sarcastic.)

However, if I handed over one of the precious orange ones – and we both know they’re the best flavour – then you’d be surprised and gratified. And grateful. It would leave a good taste in your mouth not solely due to the tasty sweet. And a fond feeling for me and my generosity.

But in both cases I gave you something you didn’t have.

So in both cases the logical response should be to be grateful.

We don’t compute like that.

It’s important to us that you value the thing you’re giving away. Last year’s remnants might be wonderful and just what I need… but I’ll still be less grateful for them than if you gave me something that you could still sell. Something that requires a small amount of sacrifice. Something that matters to you.

Because one of the cues on how much we value something comes from other people. And if you, the owner/creator/lolly holder, don’t value the thing you’re giving away… then why should we?

So when you’re in giveaway mode…

… you have three options.

1. Fling away the things you don’t value.

You don’t care, you just want them gone. Put them out the front with a sign saying, “Free”. Give them anonymously to charity. Offer them like the last yellow snakes. It’s all about you, getting rid of things you really don’t want around anymore.

2. Gently offer the things you don’t value.

Knowing that one person’s yellow snakes are another one’s orange, you do your best to make the value clear without lying your ass off. You make it easy for other people to enjoy the things that just don’t do it for you.

3. Give away the things you really value.

You have a competition with the newest model as a prize. Offer your time with the package. Give away something you personally covet. Offer for free something you could make a tidy profit on. Make a free resource of your best information.

The third one hurts a bit. It requires us to push past our natural self-interest and give up something we’d rather keep.

That’s why it’s the one that really works when you’re generosity marketing.

Are you giving away your leftovers or your favourites?

My favourite giveaway is the Choose Your Own Business Adventure. It’s free, and it is FAB.

A love letter to my Wrong People.

i love you

Dear Wrong People,

I adore you.

Thank you so much for helping me learn more about myself. Thank you for disproving my first naive and hopeful, “Oh, I’ll work with anyone,” marketing. For reminding me, again and again, that my Wrong People are not Bad People.

There’s nothing at all wrong with you, or with me.

It’s just that we’re not great together.

So now I’m going to do the best thing I can for you, as a gesture of thanks: I’m going to do my utmost to warn you away from here.

I don’t want you to waste your time on me.

Seriously, I will never rock your world: our conversations will likely never develop an easy to-and-fro, and I won’t come up with the solutions that suit you best. Even when I’m saying smart things, it will take time and energy for you to translate them into your patterns of thought. You deserve better than me, Wrong People. You need someone that’s absolutely kick-ass for you, and I’m not.

So as a favour, I’m going to work my ass off to make it easy for you to know that we’re not a great match.

In fact, I aim to make it abundantly obvious within the first three seconds of you arriving on this website, so it’s easy for you to leave and continue searching elsewhere. Here, I’ll even help with the search.

Find someone who agrees that business is a serious matter and shouldn’t be the subject of levity. Enjoy the unshakeable discipline, guidelines and predictability they’ll bring to the work you’ll do together. Revel in the reserve and professional courtesy and distance between you that makes you feel most respected, and the way they don’t shock you with their bluntness or expect you to discuss things that aren’t any of their business.

Find yourself someone who works on your timescale and won’t drive you crazy with their desire to act Right Now. Look for someone who is as detail-oriented as you are and fully appreciates your need to think over every aspect of a decision before making it. They’ll please you with tried-and-true methods (with studies backing them up), and won’t force you to try anything unproven or fuzzy.

They will make you feel safe, appreciated, smart and magnificent in a way I never can.

Run to them, dearest.

Enjoy the warm feeling of talking with someone whose values mesh perfectly with yours, who has the same ideas of quality and respect. Be your best and most wonderful self in their company. I want that for you, Wrong People.

Now get the hell out of here.

Much love,

Made it through the gauntlet and realised that you are one of my bestest people? AWESOME. You should definitely sign up for the weekly newsletter Rise and Shine, then!

Creative Commons License photo credit: erin MC hammer