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If there is one constant in marketing, regardless of media channel or product category, it is this:

A relevant incentive will always pay for itself…

Here’s one of my most recent examples. About three years ago, my young teenage daughter (and her brother) started hounding me (excuse the pun) to get a puppy. “It’s not fair dad, you and mum had dogs when you were kids” they’d use as argument. It was a hard claim to counter.

As we don’t have a side or rear fence, and we back onto a lagoon, I wasn’t keen to get a pet of any kind. We already have ducks, pelicans, water hens and other birds aplenty, as well as Eastern Water Dragons and Blue-tongue lizards. But persist they did.

And my daughter didn’t want just any dog. She wanted a French Bulldog. Now if you don’t know what a French Bulldog looks like, just check Instagram. They are the K9 equivalent of the Kardashians when it comes to followers. Though unlike the Kardashians, these pups reek of cuteness and are amazingly photogenic.

They also happen to cost a small fortune. You could move to France, rent a farm and raise your own litter of pups, for what you pay for one of these bundles of joy in Australia. But I digress.

In her quest to convince me, my daughter bought me a French Bulldog coffee cup, a pug calendar (pugs are almost as cute), even a French Bulldog phone cover. But I stood strong and didn’t wilt under the onslaught, having never been a fan of house dogs.

my new favourite coffee mug…

At the end of first term in 2016 my daughter failed her maths subject terribly – despite my tuition. I think she has her mother’s maths genes – she believes buying something on sale saves you money, versus not buying it at all.

So I gave my daughter an incentive. “If you finish the year with a score of more than 75%, we can get the puppy”. I reckoned I was on a good thing, but you’ve probably already guessed the outcome to this story, dear reader. Here’s part of the text message my daughter sent me in November last year – it’s not easy to argue with facts:

Looks like we’re getting a dog…

So now we have a 12 month old puppy named Rebel, and she believes every piece of furniture is a chew toy. But she’s sooo cute…

As in life, so it is in business – offer your prospects an incentive to do what you want them to do, when you want them to do it, and you’ll increase the number of prospects who do – what you want, that is.

This doesn’t mean flog discounts at every opportunity – just give people an extra reason to act. Here are a few very successful examples to demonstrate the point:

A free pair of slippers for every home loan applicant…

A free drink at the bar for completing a survey about the hotel’s function room…

And who would have thought this would be a successful incentive – a free box of toilet paper and a 30 day free trial?

Earlier this year, my daughter topped her maths class and had the audacity to ask for a second Frenchie. Given I’m the human who most follows Rebel around with a plastic bag scoopin-the-poop, my response was, well let’s just say, it was a tad “disincentivising”.

Time for a nap…

Connect with me anytime: https://www.linkedin.com/in/malcolmauld/