As a dabbler in the world of marketing here are my picks for three recent marketing geniuses.
Woot.com. Woot managed to combine several basic human needs (the need to win, the need to belong, the need to have nice things, the need to get a good deal, and need to not miss an opportunity), into a killer way to make millions(?) of dollars selling everything from HDTVs to bags of nothing. So don’t miss your chance to get a to get a Toshiba Gigabeat 60GB Portable Media Player for $199.99+ $5 shipping, just don’t forget that you probably just got tricked into buying it.
Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code fame. The book was ok…the end was kind of lame…but it was hard to put down once I started it. But that’s not why he was a genius, there are lots of books like that. Right before the first chapter there is a little paragraph that says that the book is based on true historical facts (or something like that). Controversy! Scandal! Attack on all we hold true! Millions of dollars in Dan Browns bank account. He was probably crossing his fingers the whole time he wrote it…
Nintendo. I got to play tennis and golf on a Wii the other day…and I have to say it was really fun. It’s a bit like DDR or Guitar Hero, but different and better. The really smart part is the way they took their purple cow and marketed it. They could have made the controller a gun, put a bunch of really fancy stuff in it, slapped a $600 price tag on it, and tried to compete with Microsoft and Sony. But they basically went after a whole new segment of gamers. Aside from the controllers the whole thing is decidedly low tech (and actually they are not that high tech…just innovative). The graphics are simple, no HD, no Blueray, no a whole bunch of stuff that you have to be a geek gamer to understand. Instead it is supper accessible. You pick up the controller to play tennis and you automatically know how to use it. You don’t have to figure out what the a,b,x,y,x,lt,lb,rb, and rt buttons do. You just swing the thing like you are playing tennis. You can play for 10 minutes and have a great time or 2 hours and have a great time. They made it so that a whole group of people who couldn’t care less about halo3 suddenly have some games that they can play and have fun at. Combine this with making almost the entire line of Nintendo games from the very beginning available online for the Wii and you get to tap a whole new market of casual gamers. And there is lots of room for expansion. How about a fishing game where you buy the game and a new fishing pole controller that has a reel on the side? And next year they can make a WiiHD and re-release all the games in HD so all those people with fancy HDTVs can play tennis in HD. Then in a couple years they can make the WiiExtreme that is targeted at gamers with all the high end stuff. They will basically get to sell the thing 3 times to a lot of the same people. Those people over at Nintendo are smart.
Now, if they would just put a Wii up on Woot I’ll be all set.