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Newsletter #850: The “New Ways to Do Things” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Smart marketers are always hungry for a new innovation — both big and small. Get your creative energy going by checking out how other clever folks are finding new ways to do things:

1. For new releases
2. For fines
3. For fish tacos
4. Check it out: Stocking is the New Planking

1. For new releases

One of the best ways to get people excited about your new product, service, or upgrade is to get it in their hands to try out. But how much should you give away? And who should you give it to? The Beastie Boys had surprising answers: 1) All of it, and 2) Everyone. But they added a twist to the giveaway: They streamed their entire album, end-to-end, in a single YouTube video. It made for a fantastic sample to try and share, and anyone who wanted the full version (the kind you can put on your iPod, pick specific songs, etc.) could buy it.

The lesson: How could you give it away for fans to sample, share, and talk about — but still have something great worth paying for?

Learn more: YouTube

2. For fines

Having to punish your customers is never a good thing. Late fees, fines, and penalties aren’t good for anyone. That’s why the New York Public Library is trying something different: Reading back your fines. This summer, they offered amnesty to more than 140,000 kids and young adults with overdue books if they participated in their summer reading program. For each 15 minutes of reading time (logged through the library’s website), $1 of fines were erased. Everyone is a winner. Kids can get back involved with the library again, and the community gets a lot more people reading.

The lesson: Fines don’t make customers want to come back. But fun, friendly ways to settle any debts and participate again do.

Learn more: Iconoculture

3. For fish tacos

It can be challenging for a restaurant to keep things fresh, interesting, and worth coming back to. For Wahoo’s Fish Taco — a chain with more than 60 locations — they’re exploring new ways to do things with a mobile test kitchen. Wing Lam, the chain’s co-founder, roams Orange County in his food truck testing new dishes and getting feedback directly from customers. Not only does he get to stay creative in the kitchen (and send popular dishes on to his restaurants), but he gets to talk with customers all day about the brand he started more than 20 years ago.

The lesson: No matter what industry you’re in, you need a test kitchen that lets you quickly test and get feedback on new ideas.

Learn more: Daily Pilot

4. Check it out: Stocking is the New Planking

Speaking of new ways to do things, have you heard of “stocking”? It’s supposed to be the new planking (you know what that is too, right?), and it’s a pretty great way to have some fun with stock photography.

Learn more: Stocking is the New Planking

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