Smart (Business) Ideas - Forward to friends, please...

I share here high-return, low-risk Marketing & Sales ideas: the goal is to generate more profit for your business, with no risky downside. As I am trying to build traffic, I'd appreciate if you could forward this page to your friends ( Thank you !

Friday, September 30, 2005

Agilent Watch and Win!

Very interesting way for Agilent to incentivize people to watch its educational video: give away an iPod after they watch the video (below the text on the web site).

One improvement could be to have a very easy set of questions at the end, to increase the likehood of the person actually watching the video: this is, by the way, the same idea that Seth Godin touts in his "Permission Marketing" book (he mentions his story with H&R Block)

Enter to win an Apple iPod 20 GB and leather carrying case by viewing the video of new features in ADS 2005A.

Click to Watch Video . . .

* High Bandwidth
* Low Bandwidth

Every month until February 15th 2006, Agilent EEsof will give away one Apple iPod 20 GB and leather carrying case.

To enter the drawing, view the 8-minute video. When it finishes, you will be automatically taken to the entry page.

Winners are selected via a random drawing. It's our way of saying, "Thank you for watching."

Please see the links below for prize promotion rules and details.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Sky TV in Italy: referral campaign

This pic comes from an Italian weekly TV Guide.

I was intrigued by the text on the bottom:

"Presenta un amico. Entrambi avrete un mese di abbonamento gratuito!"
"Introduce a friend. Both of you will enjoy a free month"

Interesting because it presents a benefit for both, the person that refers and the referred.



Monday, August 22, 2005

Impossible not to read...

Now, tell me how you can avoid reading this...


Extra info: this was inside a snail mail insurance offering for a professional association.

Mau in Austin

Sunday, August 21, 2005

SmartIdeas lite


I realized that the pressure to write lot of commentary for every posting is keeping me from posting often lot of interesting pictures I have about Smart Ideas I run into.

Countermeasure: from now on, I will make shorter postings, but more frequent than in the last period.

I hope this will continue to bring value and ideas to you.

Mau in Austin

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A word about the recent frequency of postings

Dear readers,

You surely noticed that lately I have been very unreliable with the frequency of my postings: while I had an almost daily schedule a couple of months ago, in the last month I posted very rarely.

I apologize for the disservice.

From now on, I will be posting at a more irregular pace: I am reviewing my personal goals for the blog and a daily posting frequency was way too much.

Thank you for your continued patronage,

Mau in Texas

How the Wall Street Journal maximizes renewal rate

I love smart ways to optimize business returns.

In this post, we will have a look at a great example of optimization at work: how the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) got me to pay up 107$ for the renewal of the online subscription without me even noticing...

Few weeks ago I got an innocent looking email in my inbox (I paste it at the end of the post so you can see it in its entirety), with Subject: "Online Journal Renewal Reminder"

Of course I looked it over, opened it and said to myself "Sure, one day I'll go ahead and renew it: there is time". That was July 26th, almost ONE month ago.

Today I read thru it and saw one very interesting (and profitable) paragraph:

"As a reminder, on your renewal date, we will automatically renew your subscription for another year at the current regular subscription rate, which is now $99"

WOW! I totally forgot I gave the ok for auto-renewal one year ago ... And sure enough, on my credit card account, they debited 107$ (including taxes) on August 8th.

And most probably, I would have not even noticed on my credit card billing: there are so many items, I normally just give a glance and pay... What a fantastic example of a well architected strategy for renewal: I tip off my hat to the folks at WSJ.

Mau in Austin

Attached: the complete e-mail I received

Dear Subscriber: Your subscription to The Wall Street Journal Online is coming up for renewal in about two weeks.

I'd like to take this opportunity to remind you of just a few of the powerful benefits of your Online Journal subscription, as well as highlight some valuable recent additions to the site.

As always, the Online Journal provides you with Journal-quality news and analysis, updated 24/7, including: - Insightful, in-depth coverage of the biggest stories of the day, as they unfold - Exclusive online stories and columns - Powerful research tools- Personalized news tracking

Recently, we've expanded the length of our article archive from 30 days to 90 days. Only subscribers have free access to this valuable archive.

As a subscriber, you also have access to the Morning Brief, the latest addition to a suite of three news summary emails that also includes the Afternoon Report and the Evening Wrap. These emails, sent to your inbox every business day at 6:30am, 12:30pm, and 5:30pm ET respectively, deliver the Journal's take on the biggest stories of the day. Don't miss out on this very popular feature. Sign up now at:

Whether you're refinancing your mortgage, starting a job search, or choosing a health insurance plan, you'll find an array of helpful news articles and columns plus many more features in our expanded Personal Journal section.

Sign up for a daily Personal Journal Update email and choose from over 30 other email alerts and updates covering a wide range of topics at: In addition, we continue to expand our Quotes & Research section (also known as Briefing Books), our comprehensive source for news, profiles and financial data on nearly 30,000 U.S. and international companies.

Whether you're looking for basic company facts or conducting more detailed analysis, the Online Journal offers a wealth of information you won't find on other sites.

As a reminder, on your renewal date, we will automatically renew your subscription for another year at the current regular subscription rate, which is now $99 (or $49 for print subscribers to The Wall Street Journal). If you originally registered for the print-subscriber discount, a valid Wall Street Journal account number must be on file for your account at the time of renewal. If not, you will be charged $99, the standard annual subscription rate. If you are not a current print subscriber, and would like to subscribe to the print edition of The Wall Street Journal, please go to:$50 You will receive a $50 discount off your subscription to the Online Journal.

Please take a moment to make sure your credit card and personal information are still valid to avoid possible interruption of your Online Journal service. You may update this information by going to: If you have questions about your subscription, you can call Customer Service at 1-800-369-2834 or 609-514-0870 from 7am-Midnight ET, Monday-Friday. Subscribers calling from outside the United States can also find contact phone numbers by going to the following page:

Thank you for your business.


Todd H. Larsen
The Wall Street Journal Online

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Airport version of Bulk Price

I am always interested and appreciative when I see cross pollination between businesses.

Recently, I captured in London's airport these pictures: I like the point of offering an extra benefit to the prospect (a lower price on the books) if they purchase a quantity higher than one copy.

As usual, business is a numbers' game: even if just a fraction of the prospects will take the establishment up on the offer, it is going to be extra profit flowing directly to the bottom line for no risk and no additional investment.


Smart ideas can be found at every corner, even at airports...

Mau in Austin

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Remind me, remind me, remind me


today we have an example of smart business idea from my recent trip in Italy.

Some words of introduction: in Italy, it is fairly common to purchase extra credit for your cellular phone account via calling cards, similar to those that AT&T or MCI sell in the US. There is a hidden code on the back, you scratch the card, call a special number and get your cell phone account boosted by the amount purchased. So far, so good.

Now, I am at a supermarket cash register and I notice that on the little metal separator, used to distinguish my stuff from the other persons' shopping items, there is written (see picture)
"Buy here your cell phone credit".


This is very smart! Pure profit added to the bottom line for the supermarket, all with a simple writing on the little metal object.

Does it work? It certainly does: I needed to recharge my cell phone and it surely did the trick for me: I shelled out my hard earned, cold Euro cash and got my cell phone fat with credit.

For me: convenience. For the supermarket: extra profit at no extra cost.

All in all, a pretty good idea,

Mau in Taiwan