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  1. You shop for cereal.
  2. "I can't find! I can't find! OH NOES! OH NOES!"
  3. You finally find cereal in a new aisle.

That shiznit has happened 9757964439845281 times in your life.

"WHY OH WHY DO THEY HAVE TO MOVE THINGS AROUND ALL THE TIME?", you ask yourself.

But get this:

  • Top supermarkets/retail chains (Walmart, Target, Costco, Whole Foods, etc.) will continually move their items around-and-around-and-around for the rest of your life.

Why do they do it?

The more time you spend looking for your cereal, the more the stores expose you to new items that you haven't seen.

That means, the stores pitch you on more items; the more pitches, the more sales.

  • HEY WHERES CEREAL?
  • OH, NEW MINT OREOS SON

Retail shoppers traditionally shop for the same items; by moving things around, the retailers start marketing a freakish-plethora of new items to shoppers while shoppers look for their target items, resulting in more sales (and happier buyers).

Your Business

Likewise, if buyers buy from you without seeing your new SPANKIN SUPER FRESH widgets, try placing your new wares in between them and their usual purchases.

For instance, on your invoice form, where buyers typically fill-and-send without you pitching anything:

  • List a some optional add-ons to their purchases.
  • Let them accessorize their purchases further.
  • Give them choices to buy monthly specials.
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

You'll increase sales by providing more value to your buyers.

WIN4ALL

Strategic placements.

Posted on February 10

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  • You see S.U.C.K. ads on the Super Bowl.
  • "Why did those suckas spend millions on that suck ad?" you ask yourself.

BUT THEN BAM YOU SEE GOOGLE'S AD

...and if you're like most people, you like/love it.

"How in the heck are they so good at everything, including advertising, you ask yourself?"

Building great ads starts with this two-stepper:

  1. Test with a sample size (i.e., a randomly selected group of people)
  2. Go with the best (i.e., the one that achieves your ultimate goal most).

WTFREAK?

A sample size, provided that it's random and represents your target audience, lets you generalize/predict what the target population as a whole will feel about your ad.

If 30 random people mostly respond favorably to an ad, that likely means that Billy, Megan, Miguel, Cletus, Shibo, and 98669758964332963 others will mostly respond favorably to the ad too.

(The bigger your random sample size, the better you'll predict what your target audience will feel about your ad.)

Google Made Various Ads

And, the company posted those ads on YouTube, and randomly selected folks browsing on YouTube to watch its various ads.

  1. Viewers watched those ads, and responded.
  2. Google then selected the ad that people favored most (its ultimate goal).

If your intended goal for an ad is to convert a user to do some action, you'd select the ad that achieved goal best on your random samples.

Guessing: Boooooo

Ads can either get lucky or primed for success; relying on luck makes your business unpredictable, putting your plans in flux.

Say NO! to potential S.U.C.K ads; instead, test the mofro to get the best mofro.

Plan your success.

WINNNNNNNNNN

Sample.

Posted on February 09

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The armchair noobs go:

  • "Ohhh Google's scared by the competition!"
  • "Oh noes, they're advertising now! They're scared of Bing!"
  • "They're going to die!"

Google's not scared; advertising to the world in 60 seconds just let it pound its competitors further.

Google is still gaining market share, capturing a leading 67% of search queries (compared to Bing's 10%), and with a Dream Team of search experts (and several billions of dollars in free cash flow at its disposal to invest further in search), Google won't lose its leading position anytime soon.

Why Did Google Advertise?

When you see an ad, you like the company behind the ad a little more; that's called the exposure effect; it's a reason why:

  • We'd rather hang out with Friend A than Friend B because we see Friend A more than Friend B.
  • We prefer living at our homes more than living anywhere else because we're more familiar with our homes.
  • We're more interested in Lady Gaga than Selena Gomez because gossip magazines expose Lady Gaga more to us.

We're more fond of GEICO than any other insurer because we recall its ads more than any other insurer's; every GEICO ad strengthens our relationship with GEICO.

  • Likewise, every exposure/contact/referral to Google strengthens our relationship with Google.

Google Spends Big on Marketing

Peeps who haven't read Google's 10Ks or its quarterly reports might not realize that Google has always marketed heavily, spending 70% as much of its money on sales & marketing as it does on engineering (and has more people in sales and marketing than any other division, including engineering).

  • If you're a nobody, advertising lets you capture an audience; if you're a market leader like Google, Budweiser, or Coca Cola, advertising lets you reinforce your position, keeping competitors from chipping into your lead.

A company that avoids sales and marketing won't reach its full potential; a company that avoids sales and marketing will kill itself when heavily-marketed competitors reach out and steal its target customers.

Yes, a great product that can market itself is supremely ideal; but, coupling a great product that can market itself with great advertising/marketing/sales will attract the masses.

Building great, multinational, billion-dollar companies takes advertising; likewise, building sustainable companies on a smaller scale takes advertising.

Advertising is good.

Posted on February 08

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  1. A vendor gives you a great presentation.
  2. You hire them on the spot.

Then, you start working with them and suddenly you realize:

BAM THEY SUK OH NOES

You selected the supplier based on a great presentation; why in the $@"&&"&&@$$@&$$ did that happen?

It's because of this psychological phenomenon that warps your brain into thinking: "X is good at Y, so X must be good at Z."

The Halo Effect

You see Tiger Woods, the golf legend.

How would do you think of him as a businessman?

  • "Top notch."
  • "Crazy awsome."
  • "The best negotiator in town."
  • "One of this generation's greatest businessman."

But then BAM, you dig a little further, and there's a frickin golden agency that got him those crazy deals (IMG, who's represented elite stars/models/athletes for several decades).

The Beautiful People

The Halo Effect makes you think a crazy-beautiful person is also a nice/sweet/caring person, regardless if you've met them.

The Halo Effect makes you think if someone interviews well, then that person must also be a great employee/partner/contractor.

BUT DANG SON HOLD ON

Because one person/group does something well (interviewing), that shouldn't mean that person/group does the other thing well too (working) -- despite your cognitive biases to think otherwise.

When choosing your suppliers, focus on past work/accomplishments/client-satisfaction:

  • Get testimonials/references/feedback (tons) from as many sources as you can (including ones that are no longer clients)
  • Freakishly analyze previous work/results.
  • Understand their weaknesses ("OH OUR BIGGEST WEAKNESS IS THAT WE'RE PERFECTIONISTS HI FIVE" suck stuff don't count).

And if you're still concerned, consider a bit-sized, short-term, arrangement so you cam assess their SKILLZ.

The Good Stuff

Focus on the work -- not the presentation; you'll combat your brain biases to start think objectively, and doing what's best for your ridiculously good business.

WIN

The Work.

Posted on February 05

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The path of least resistance:

  • Humans tend to seek the easiest path to satisfy X (e.g., their customers); they don't go further.

For instance, say you're working on a project with a contractor to build your ridiculous shack.

  1. Your contractor will build your shack to meet your needs.
  2. S/he won't go any further to satisfy you more.

The contractor then loses opportunities to provide your shack additional value (destroying future sales opportunities with you and referrals from you).

BAM TEH SUK

Apple and Google?

  1. Satisfy customer needs.
  2. Then, blow customers the motherfrrrruuukkkk away with ridiculously more value.

Google's not content with just providing you a search engine; Apple was never content with just being a computer company for you.

Altavista and Sun, on the other hand, thought HEY IF WE CAN MEET CUSTOMER NEEDS WE WIN HI FIVE

  • But bam: their competitors went beyond customer needs, crushing Altavista and Sun with smarter search engine algorithms and freakishly simpler server deployments.

The Human

The human tendency to do only what's necessary helped our ancestors conserve their limited resources; doing anything more could've killed them.

That adopted mindset, however, starts to become a liability when it prevents you from going freakishly beyond customers' needs and building a greater company -- knowing that even in the absolute worst-case scenario in which you SUCK MORE THAN SUCK, you'll still survive with abundant food, water, and shelter in a 2010 economy.

  • Your competitors will seek the path of least resistance; if you can go wayyyyyyyy beyond customer needs, you'll build a sustainably strong company.

WIN 4EVA

Beyond customer satisfaction.

Posted on February 04

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  1. You get your website designed.
  2. It's BLAH.

So, you go back, think of ways to improve it, get your ideas to the designer, and weeks later you still get BLAH.

How do complex stuff get done for happy clients?

Software developers call the approach agile development:

  1. They release client projects early and often.
  2. Every release can stand on its own (e.g., Version 0.001, Version 0.002, Version 0.003, etc.)

That way, you correct mistakes early and often without having to go back and redo chunks of the project -- saving freakish:

  • Money
  • Time
  • Spirits

You also ensure that the project improves incrementally, according to the client's satisfaction, and every release is a step closer to completion.

Instead of waiting months for a client to see X, the client sees the project quickly (weeks/days) to lend feeback and guide direction as early as possible.

The Cognitive Biases

Peeps tend to get into habits thinking Client X WANTS THISSSSS, based on conversational information that doesn't paint a perfect picture of what they really want in their heads.

  1. So the project contractor builds it according to what s/he thinks the client wants.
  2. The client pictures something else.
  3. So, then: "DANG OKAY YOU THINK YOU KNOW BETtER THAN ME SO ILL JUST DO WHAT YOU WANT."

The contractor then surrenders leadership on the project to the client, and lets the client lead the rest of the way -- resulting in SUCK STUFF.

BAM

Suckiness all around.

Releasing stuff to clients early lets you correct mistakes before they result in catastrophes.

You + Blind Guy

Imagine you're travelling across the country and you don't know the directions. There's a blind guy in the car who knows the directions but HE CANT SEE OH NOES.

So what do you do yo maximize your chances of getting across the country safely and efficiently?

You consult with him early and often to make sure you're going the right direction before you head in a totally catastrophic direction.

BAM WIN

Early/often.

Posted on February 03

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  1. Jimbo reads a book on marketing.
  2. "I'm now a marketing superstar!" he tells himself.
  3. But, he reverts back to his old strategies of MARKETING SUCK as he never sufficiently conceptualizes what he learned from the marketing book.

How Do You Remember Stuff Better?

A study by two researchers from UCSD (Carrier + Pashler) compared the recall rates between two groups when shown two words:

  • The control group saw both words for 10 seconds on a screen.
  • The test group saw the first word for the first 5 seconds, while asked to simultaneously test themselves to recall the second word, and then seeing both words on the screen for the next 5 seconds.

Result?

The latter group that tested themselves overwhelmingly clobbered the first group in remembering the two words over the long-term.

Learning something?

Peeps want to be on the move and keep learning new things instead of going back to some material they just learned because they think that wastes their time when "I COULD BE LEARNING SOMETHING NEW RIGHT NOW!"

So, they rarely test themselves on new material, and rarely recall that information day/months/years later.

The learning-new-stuff then becomes trivial, as the peeps repeatedly go back to learning X when they could've just done it once, test themselves, and imprint the $&@#%* info into their memories for the long-term.

BOOOOOOOO

  1. You read a book.
  2. You give yourself a mini-test on the book.
  3. You'll recall much more from the book much later.

Testing?

Testing yourself on X can include:

  • Giving a little speech about X.
  • Incorporate X into your life right now.
  • Teaching somebody about X.
  • Writing a short summary about X.
  • Waiting a few hours to see if you can summarize X.
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

Long-term memory WIN.

HIFIVE

Test yourself.

Posted on February 02

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  • Work on a project on your own? You become freeeaaakishly productive.
  • Work with 10 others? You/team = horribly unproductive.

Researchers call the psychological phenomenon a diffusion of responsibility.

That is, when you're in a larger group, you start thinking: "Hey, someone's probably already doing X!" -- so, you ignore X.

  • Yet, Bob, Ben, Bill, Brie, Brit, Bobo,  Bess, Bryce, and Biff ignore X too -- so X gets unfinished.
  • Multiply that one task by a bunch of other tasks, where every team member in the group thinks others are taking care  of necessary tasks/responsibilities, and you end up with S.U.C.K.

Big Teams = Slow

Large bureaucratic companies that don't break down their massive number of people into small teams move freakishly slow because folks start relying on others to take responsibility for X, Y, Z.

Agile big companies, like Google, instead break their people down into small teams (e.g., comprising 3 people), giving them freakish responsibilities, and getting krrrraaazzzzy output from every team member.

  • The smaller Bob's team, the more output you get from Bob.

Instead of relying on others, Bob starts taking responsibility to get things done.

BAM

Minify teams.

Posted on February 01

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  1. You get a Christmas gift. Yay!
  2. You get a surprise gift on some random day. OMG OMG OMG OMG

A predictable gift brings you joy; an unexpected gift brings you freeeeeaaaakish happiness.

The amount of dopamine (your happy juices) increases much more with unexpected rewards than expected rewards.

But then, like, you don't want to give a gift to somebody and then that somebody tells her friends, but her friends don't get the gift and then they're like NO FAIR and they start hating on you. OH NOES WHAT DO YOU DO????

How do you excite customers with the unexpected and do it fairly?

Try this: automate your gifts/rewards. That is, have a defined secret set of rules when a person gets a certain prize.

Example!

  1. A customer buys 5 items: Free Gift A
  2. A customer comes in on Tuesdays: Free Gift B
  3. A customer sends a thank you note: Free Gift C
  4. Etc. Etc. Etc.

BAM

Unexpected gifts WIN.

Customers, employees, vendors, yaddas --> the more unexpected joy you bring them, the stronger relationships you'll build with them, the stronger your business grows.

Automate the unexpected.

Posted on January 31

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What makes people addicted to slot machines and video games?

  • The intermittent rewards that come from playing them.

Your brain gets a rush of dopamine every time a slot machine tells you you've won, or when a game gives you a sweet prize from doing certain tasks.

  1. HEY I JUST WON COINS FROM SLOTS
  2. I WANT THAT WINNING FEELING AGAIN
  3. I KEEP PLAYING

The Dopamine Rush

On the surface, drugs, video games, and slot machines don't addict people; instead, the rush in more dopamine rushing through people's brains addicts them to those activities.

  • People scour the internet aimlessly looking for that next quick fix, giving them the increased dopamine rush, and driving them to explore the Internet further.

Yet, doing activities that provide them no long-term benefit ultimately destroys their morale; people aren't any happier after browsing the Web aimlessly or playing the slots until they come back to those activities.

You get a sustainably happier and more effective workforce when you combine the dopamine rush with long-term benefits that help company/customers/world.

How to Make Work Fun

If the dopamine rush happens infrequently, we move onto other activities that can give us that rush (e.g. employees browsing the Web instead of working on a customer's project).

DANG THIS BORING LETS DO SOMETHING ELSE

To get a more engaged workforce, design your company around intermittent rewards for doing things that rock the #@$#@ out your company, your customers, and the world; some examples:

  • prizes for getting happy letters from customers/vendors/team-members
  • ribbons for saving $X in costs
  • points for finding ways to cut energy costs
  • badges for helping customers win

The repeated rush in dopamine for every win fuels them to keep doing those beneficial activities.

You start channeling the dopamine rush to good things. 

The world wins.

BAM

Channel dopamine for the good.

Posted on January 29

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