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Newsletter #905: The “Help Them Make It” 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.]

When you build something, you’re invested in it. It’s yours and it’s got a piece of you in it — so naturally you talk about it and show it off.

Smart marketers are finding ways to integrate this powerful emotion into their products, and you can do it too. A few ways they’re doing it:

1. Their computers
2. Their iced tea
3. Their pillow forts
4. Check it out: Everyone’s Mixtape

1. Their computers

As gadgets grow more high-tech and more complicated, we know less and less about the inner workings of the stuff we use every day. There are entire books on this issue, but in practical terms, it means the geek and DIY connection to things like PCs are slipping away. But Fujitsu is going a different direction. They’re inviting customers to build their own computers at their production facilities in Japan. They hold workshops for elementary and middle school students to teach them how to do it. Customers can even get their names engraved on the case or mouse of the machines they build.

The lesson: This type of hands-on construction isn’t for everyone. But for a certain group that loves this stuff (and tells the world about it), this is an amazing experience they can’t get from the big-name computer guys.

Learn more: TreeHugger

2. Their iced tea

Making tea is an ancient art, but Adagio Teas is bringing the power to the people. Sure, you can buy any of their off-the-shelf blends — but you can also make your very own custom blend. You can jump right in, or you can review their training videos on the basics. You pick the ingredients, name it, describe it, give it a story, and even pick the artwork. When you’re done you can keep it to yourself or make your blend public for others to buy. The whole process adds up to some fantastic results: Customers get to share their own recipe with friends and Adagio Teas gets an army of amateurs coming up with new recipes.

The lesson: Help them build it and they just might help you come up with something completely new and fantastic.

Learn more: Adagio Teas

3. Their pillow forts

Helping them build it doesn’t always have to be about the product — sometimes it’s about the experience. Winnipeg’s Fairmont Hotel allows customers to leave special instructions when booking a room and one guest tested them by asking for a pre-made pillow fort and a Coke. The hotel responded by providing 10 pillows stacked on his bed with a note that read, “DIY fort.” That guest — Gord Relph — took them up on their challenge and the online photo gallery he posted of his project received 300,000 hits in just 18 hours.

The lesson: Supply them with the materials they need to create a great experience and then get out of the way and let them do it.

Learn more: Winnipeg Sun

4. Check it out: Everyone’s Mixtape

Everyone’s Mixtape is an awesome project where anyone can add tunes from the web to categories like “Driving,” “Heartbreak,” and “Summer BBQ” for everyone else to listen to. The result is a diverse mix of classic hits and unknown tracks for whatever mood you’re in.

Check it out: Everyone’s Mixtape

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