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Newsletter #887: The “Great Barters” 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.]

Trades, deals, and barters can be amazing marketing opportunities. When you create win-win situations for everyone, you can do big things. What smart marketers are already bartering:

1. WiFi for dog poop
2. A ride for feedback
3. Beer for timesheets
4. Check it out: The Original Hipster: Your Dad

1. WiFi for dog poop

A great incentive can fundamentally change the way people act. A handful of public parks in Mexico are starting to do this by trading dog poop for WiFi access. When people deposit poop in special bins, they get wireless internet — and it’s a communal effect because the more that’s added, the more wireless minutes everyone gets. How about that? Parks get cleaner, the people who already picked up after themselves get a nice little perk, and everyone else now has a new incentive to do the right thing.

The lesson: What behavior are you trying to influence? What could you trade to help make that happen?

Learn more: CNET

2. A ride for feedback

Getting honest feedback from consumers can be tough, and each year brands spend a lot of money trying to get it. But UK-based Hall & Partners are doing something different: They’ve created a taxi that brands can use to collect feedback from consumers. In exchange, consumers get a complimentary lift to wherever they’re headed. And with their service, they offer great ways for brands to focus on specific consumers (for example, they can pick shoppers up from the mall and give them a ride home). And because the car is branded, it doubles as a nice mobile billboard for Hall & Partners.

The lesson: When you help people, they’re much more likely to help you. Before you go asking customers for something, start by asking what you could offer them.

Learn more: Springwise

3. Beer for timesheets

Motivating employees is a challenge a lot of businesses face. There are countless consultants, conferences, and books on how to do it — but it turns out all you need is beer. At agency JWT Brazil, they use it to encourage employees to turn in their dreaded timesheets. They keep a fridge stocked full of booze, but it only opens once everyone has turned them in. The whole thing changes a painful process that typically involves a lot of one-on-one nagging into a group goal that everyone gets to celebrate.

The lesson: A smart barter can turn something everyone dreads into something everyone works together to accomplish.

Learn more: Adverblog

4. Check it out: The Original Hipster: Your Dad

It turns out all the trendsetting skinny jeans, beards, and glasses of today’s hipsters were actually made cool long ago — by our dads.

Check it out: Dads Are the Original Hipster

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