Want to make something remarkable? Then Free Prize Inside is the book for you.
The title, Free Prize Inside, is an allusion to the free prize sitting at the bottom of a kid’s cereal box. Godin says that in order to create your very own “Purple Cow”(remarkable product), you’ll need your own free prize inside.
Godin admits that creating a remarkable product is difficult, but he’s also quite adamant in his declaration that marketers no longer have a choice in the matter.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, we’re all marketers now.
Godin’s message is simple: be remarkable, get above the noise, or die.
I really wish I had this book several years ago.
This is the book you need when you’re trying to push that big idea through to your boss but run into interference.
More than just a marketing book, Free Prize Inside is also a book on leadership, organizational development, and cultivating the mindset of a winner.
Here are a few lessons from the book that really made me think differently about innovation and winning in the workplace.
Finding The Free Prize Inside
Almost all efforts at creating innovations within existing organizations fail. Innovators are too focused on what the innovation is, but not on how they will go about implementing it. The truth is, no organization innovates. People innovate.
Godin understands that PEOPLE are the source of ideas and all new innovations. It’s a bottom-up approach rather than the top down approach that plagues so many organizations.
Godin says that going big with R & D, creating huge advertising campaigns, and blowing marketing dollars on ten second Super Bowl Ads no longer work.
A better way to innovate is to use “soft innovation.”
“Most successes, though, are the result of soft innovation — things like fast lube-job shops, cell phone pricing plans and purple ketchup. These are the common sense, creative things that require initiative and curiosity, not an advanced degree, to do.”
How do you create a “soft innovation”? Godin suggests using Edgecraft.
Brainstorming Sucks, Use Edgecraft Instead
When it comes to innovation, Godin doesn’t care for brainstorming. He thinks that non-lateral thinking (going from one idea to a non-related one) isn’t really all that effective.
instead, he recommends “going to the edges.”
The process for creating a soft innovation is known as “Edgecraft.”
Edgecraft is a two-step process:
- Find the what makes your product remarkable.
- Go all the way to that edge as far from the center as customers will allow you to go.
Grocery Stores – Godin suggests treating customers unequally. Why not give people who buy more things a reward by giving them special check out lines instead of the ones who buy less?
The March Of Dimes –The March of Dimes has captured the attention of millions by tapping into the network in a new way: It fund-raises by putting community leaders in “prison.” Now, these local luminaries need to call all their friends to bail them out by soliciting donations to the charity. Not surprisingly, the response rate is huge. The March of Dimes has changed its sales force from telemarketers and direct mail to influential community leaders calling their friends.
Going to the edges gives you the prize.
Selling And Championing Your Ideas
This was the most exciting part of the book for me.
Godin casually states that most companies hate change and embrace the status quo.
Change presents a potential threat to the order of the organization, and you need to be methodical in the way that you approach selling your idea by being a “champion.”
I’ve had experiences in the past trying to push ideas through and know how difficult the process can be. Godin provides a blueprint I wish I had a lot earlier.
And yes, no matter what people tell you — you need to be able to sell your ideas.
How do you sell your ideas?
Selling your ideas is all about building leverage.
Godin suggests building a “fulcrum.”
To build the fulcrum, you’ll have to adequately address these three questions:
- Is it going to be successful? – People want a sure thing. Provide them with a picture of the future and evidence to back it up. The paradox, according to Godin, is that the more certain something appears to be, the less likely it is to succeed.
- Is it worth doing? Cool ideas require scary things like time and research. The person you are pitching to will want to know if the ROI is worth it. Godin says to put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re talking to. Is your boss primarily interested in saving money for the company? If so, how can you sell them on how your idea will help the company save money?
- Is this person able to champion the project? Your colleagues want to know that you can handle the project and see it through completion. Are you willing to push through and make your thing a success? You need to be a champion.
Remember all those great ideas your boss shot down? Yea, me too. This is the information you needed yesterday.
Be A Champion
In the preface, Godin enthusiastically implores you to give this book to your boss — and conversely, for bosses to give this book to their employees. It’s good advice.
This book really sparked my thinking about innovation and how it plays out in the workplace. I think there is a definite disconnect between employers and employees in the workplace.
Companies say they want innovation but are afraid to innovate. Employees want to contribute, but don’t know how to effectively sell their ideas to their companies.
This book fills the gap.
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