Information as an Incentive

For a customer, information is an incentive. An asset.
I received an email from Brooks Brothers today inviting me to visit the firm’s Web site to learn how to tie various tie knots. The presentation is well done. It’s built in Flash, is animated, and very user-friendly. It motivated me to go because I have always been curious about various tie knots. There was something in it for me…and the incremental cost to Brooks Brothers was virtually nil. I didn’t buy anything today, but perhaps I will in the future.
A marketer can use information to get a prospect to do something. I wonder why more marketers don’t use it more often.
Most ads I see focus on what’s in it for the company, not what’s in it for the customer. Take this week’s (6/26/06) issue of Time Magazine. I had it on my desk and picked it up to do a quick poll. Of the first twelve ads in the magazine (from Apple and Land Rover to Edward Jones and LG), all had Web site addresses. But the calls to action were about them, not me. One told me that the site would help me find their store (so I could give them my money). Another told me that the site would explain to me how well the product performs (so I could be convinced to give them my money). Several offered me the very exciting prospect of ‘learn[ing] more’ or ‘find[ing] out more’ (so I could give them my money, I’m sure).
LG, maker of HD televisions, would be better off offering me some sort of information. How about this: “Confused about HD? Please visit our Web site to download your free copy of Consumer Reports’ comparison report on different television projection types.”
Edward Jones, investment agency, would get a lot more mileage out of me with an information incentive. Perhaps something like this: “Curious about saving and investing? Log on to our site today to see the top 10 investing mistakes that baby boomers are making today.”
Creating and uploading this information costs nothing to these companies. Creating the impression that it’s ‘all about them’ (and not about me) does.