The Powerful Motivation of Almost Winning

Almost Winning.png

While on vacation, I watched two kids play a claw game at the local Walmart. If you’re unfamiliar, claw games are games of chance in which users attempt to pick up prizes with an unstable mechanical claw:

Grabber machines // Jeu des pinces

Watching the kids play and listening to them talk revealed an interesting motivation: almost winning was more compelling than actually winning something.

Think about how this motivation shows up in other games.

  • In Pokemon Go, we expend more Pokeballs trying to catch a difficult creature, but that raises our motivation to catch it.
  • In casino slot machines, getting 2 out of 3 winning bars encourages us to keep putting coins in the machine.
  • How much more compelling is a football play when your favorite team is at 4th and goal versus 4th and 20? How much more closely do you watch?

Almost winning taps into our competitive spirit. It taps into ego and a potent stew of emotions, from hope to anxiety. We feel these emotions even when we’re not directly playing, when we’re watching others play.

Consider how you might use this motivation for your marketing operations. If you manage a team of people, instead of setting either ludicrously unachievable goals or goals with a bar so low that you stumble over it, what if you set marketing goals that were just barely out of reach?

Consider how you might use this motivation for your marketing itself. Suppose you had a sales goal or a fundraising goal, and you invited your community to participate and be a part of it. Could you make your marketing efforts more compelling to watch, like the football game, if you’re almost winning rather than a hopeless cause or an effortless winner?

Almost winning could be a powerful ingredient for you to actually win at marketing.

Photo credit: DocChewbacca


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How much do marketing tools matter?

How much do marketing tools matter? I’m asked this question in one form or another nearly every week, by coworkers, clients, friends, and colleagues. The question is often coached in terms of specific products. Is Marketo better than Pardot? Is Hubspot better than Infusionsoft? Is Buffer better than Hootsuite? Is Sysomos better than Meltwater?

The answer to the question is relatively straightforward. Marketing tools are like spatulas.

latkespatula.png

Have you ever tried to cook a dish like steak or pancakes without a spatula? It’s awful. You either end up improvising with an assortment of tools that were not meant to do the job, or you ruin the food. Try flipping a pancake with chopsticks if you don’t know what I mean. You can do it, but your rate of success is significantly lower without a spatula.

Any spatula, even a mediocre one, is better than no spatula. When someone asks about marketing automation, the answer is that any marketing automation system is better than none at all.

The spatula analogy extends further. Amazon lists 8,127 spatulas for sale, from the Global GS-25 spatula for $70 to the Rite Lite Menorah Shaped Hanukkah Latke Spatula for $1.35. Is the GS-25 51x better a spatula than the Rite-Lite? Can you cook 51x more food or make food that tastes 51x better with it? Probably not. The difference between the two is largely aesthetic. They fulfill the same function.

Once you have a spatula of any functional use, what matters more is the skill with which you use it. If your pancake batter recipe is made of solely flour and water (yuck), then no spatula is going to make those pancakes taste better. You have to fix the recipe first.

Likewise, the gap, the difference between a Marketo and a Pardot or a Buffer and a Hootsuite is significantly smaller than the difference between a Marketo and nothing, or a Buffer and nothing. Once you have a marketing tool, your ability to be productive, profitable, or powerful with it is far more dependent on your skills and ingredients than the tool.

Buy the spatula, to be sure. But don’t get so caught up in spatula upgrades that you fail to actually cook something good.


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Friday Foodblogging: All-Natural General Pest Repellant

This week, let’s look at a general pest repellant for the garden. I’m a fan of natural solutions when the science behind them is sound. I’m also a fan of making things yourself whenever possible, because that’s the only surefire guarantee that you know what the ingredients are.

Pest repellant

The intent of this spray repellant is to annoy pests like chipmunks, squirrels, and small insects.

Ingredients

  • 2 raw, whole jalapeños
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 leaves of the citronella plant
  • 1 tablespoon of an organic castile soap
  • 750 ml of tap water

Tools

  • High speed blender
  • Paper towels or coffee filter
  • Funnel
  • Spray bottle

Directions

  • Put all the ingredients in your blender.
  • Blend on high for 45 seconds.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Blend on high again for 45 seconds.
  • Line funnel with paper towels to act as a filter, or use a standard coffee filter.
  • Slowly pour contents through funnel into spray bottle.
  • Spray wherever pests are.
Pest repellant

A cautionary note: while none of these ingredients are toxic to humans, they can be irritating. Never blend hot peppers indoors; always blend outdoors in a well-ventilated area. Know which way the wind is blowing and stand upwind.

You’ll need to re-apply this spray once a week in dry weather and after every rain.


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mautic is open source marketing automation