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The Free Prize Inside - Seth Godin

Every time I see a review or article about this book it always starts with the cereal box and how great and different the silly box is.... Yea, yea, I get it - put a book in a cereal box and people will notice. I think however, that Seth may need to go one extra step. If the book had come with actual cereal (milk not included) and I could actually use the box as a cereal bowl - now that would have been remarkable! Ha.

Anyway, I keep coming back to Seth's books, web site and blog because he has a way of cutting through the clutter with very simple and effective messages. Purple Cow taught me how to think differently and how to create purple cows (or at least how to consider building a purple cow).

First off, with Seth, you need to clearly understand that everything is Marketing - everything. I happen to believe that - and that's why I read his books. Don't bother with Seth's books if you don't buy that premise.

Anyway... What is a Free Prize Inside? "Free Prizes are a way to formalize how your marketing is spread."

There are 2 main concepts worth recapping here in case I forget and don't have time to re-read the book.

Concept 1 - The Fulcrum of Innovation


For me, the graphic says it all, for you - go buy the book and you'll understand better.

Concept 2 - Edgecraft

You find free prizes at the edges - for your industry, your marriage, your business, your whatever. Figure out the soft innovations that live on the edges of what already exists.

An edge will be a free prize that makes your product or service (or marriage) remarkable. You need to go ALL THE WAY TO THE EDGE and as far from the center as your consumers are willing to go.

Don't be average. Don't suck.

The goal of edgecraft is to find the free prize worth paying for... no one buys a watch because it tells accurate time. They pay for the soft innovation of style, image etc...

As a reminder, here are some example edges to consider:

  • create conversations
  • create events
  • make something visible/invisible
  • create a sensation
  • save a huge amount of time/waste a huge amount of time
  • great design/cheesy design
  • make it very safe, or very dangerous
  • leave something out (MTV unplugged)
  • over build
  • help or hurt a controversy
  • more convenient/less convenient
  • make it small, make it clean, make it dirty
  • super size it, microsize it
  • obsess on 1 element
  • parody
  • make formal informal and vice versa

There are tons more, but you'll have to buy the book to read them!