Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That! Unusually Useful Ideas for Smart Marketers
2/27/14 Follow Andy: Andy's Twitter Profile Andy's Facebook Profile Andy's LinkedIn Profile Andy's other newsletters

#977: The "Make It Seriously Easy" Issue

We often suggest making stuff easier for your customers. People like simplicity and convenience. But you don't have to do anything drastic to make this happen.
Here are three examples of small changes companies made to make decisions, purchases, and feedback incredibly simple for their customers:
1.
Stand out
2.
Catch them in the moment
3.
Get real feedback
4.
Check it out: inFORM

1. Stand out

 Gas station call box
Photo thanks to our teammate, Cale.
Gas stations and liquor stores seem to always go hand-in-hand. So what makes one gas station/liquor store combo stand out from the rest? This one in Oklahoma has a call box at every pump. You just push the button, tell the employee at Drew's Wine and Spirits next door what you need, and they'll bring it to you while you're pumping gas. Wow. That's easy.
 
The lesson: When your customers have a bunch of similar options for where to fill up their car and buy beer, it's the little, remarkably simple things that help them make a decision.

2. Catch them in the moment

We've all done it: try something on in the fitting room, decide you like it, but then change your mind before you buy it. H&M knows that a lot can happen between the fitting room and the checkout counter. So they installed registers in the fitting room areas to allow customers to buy their stuff while they're trying it on and even wear the clothes out of the store.
 
The lesson: Find ways to let your customers make a decision when they're most excited about your stuff.  
 
Learn more: Businessweek

3. Get real feedback

 The Listserve
Photo thanks to our teammate, Bridgette.
The Listserve is a simple email subscription experiment that picks one of its thousands of readers a day to write whatever they want to the rest of their readership. They have very few rules and guidelines for writers, but since those rules were created when the Listserve had less than 100 subscribers, they've decided to update them. To do it, they simply asked all of their readers to follow a link and give their suggestions in less than 280 characters.
 
The lesson: The only tool The Listserve used was a Google Form with one box to fill out -- no signing in, no survey questions, and no verification code -- just one question. They'll probably get lots of great, honest feedback, because they made it incredibly easy to do.

4. Check it out: inFORM

Check it out!
Photo thanks to Tangible Media Group.
Want to see digital stuff rendered physically in real time? MIT Media Lab's Tangible Media Group has created a Dynamic Shape Display that looks like something from a sci-fi movie (and a whole lot of fun).
 
Check it out: Vimeo

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About This Newsletter

"Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That!" is full of unusually useful ideas borrowed from the smartest marketers. Good marketing is more about brains than bucks. The best business ideas are easy to do, inexpensive, simple, and fun. Learn to simplify your business, earn word of mouth, and thrill your customers.

I'm Andy Sernovitz, a fairly helpful marketing guy. I write about word of mouth marketing, social media, ethics, common-sense business, and entrepreneurship.

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