410.235.7070 Join Our E-Letter
businessGPS Taking You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Go.

Your briefs may be worth a million bucks - really!

Your briefs may be worth a million bucks - really!

April 27, 2009

Okay. I have to come clean here. I actually debated whether to share this idea with you. It's so good I thought about saving it for myself. But I feel an obligation to give you the absolute best, most cutting edge ideas I have without holding back. So here you go.

WARNING. You are likely to look at this and say it doesn't apply to your business. But if you follow the steps I outline you will see how you can harness the power of this crazy strategy to your business too.

Fahrenheit 212, a tiny New York ad agency that promises to help clients dream up hit products and services, is giving away a MILLION dollars worth of FREE work to the company that comes up with the best 'brief.' This is one of the sweetest ideas I have come across.

Here's how it works: brief them on your company's hottest innovation challenge before the end of May, and if Fahrenheit thinks you've got the most-compelling proposal about a business growth opportunity, they'll do a million bucks worth of work on it for five months. The winner has to pay all out-of-pocket expenses and production costs, and once your product does go to market, they'll take a piece of the pie according to the terms of their standard services agreement. But if your company didn't do at least $50 million worth of business in 2008, don't bother writing.

Here's why this is brilliant: It's essentially a lead generation ad that attracts only 'A' level clients.When most ad agencies are struggling to get clients they're actually getting their hungry fish to come to them!

And they're qualifying those new business leads by only allowing the big fish to enter their pond. Smart outfit, these Fahrenheit 212 people are.

How can you use this idea? Look, if you're a landscaper you can say, 'Submit your property dreams to us and if it qualifies we will make your dreams come true.' Target only the top neighborhoods so it would be a great testimonial for you if you got the job. Lets say you get 20 'applications.' Great, select one, give them some pro bono work and go and have conversations with the other 19. Give 19 estimates and close at least 9 new major jobs!

Offer free design work if you are an interior designer. Offer a free remodeling job as builder. Give away a free piece of art if you run an art gallery. View it as a 'loss leader' just like the grocery store gives away bread and milk for a loss just to get more customers into the store.

Contests always generate interest (and media attention), since everyone loves getting something for free. The higher the perceived value, the more willing prospects are to participate. But you have to make sure they take a specified action like filling out a comment card, visiting your Web site and signing up for your newsletter. Your goal is lead development.

One last trick, make everybody a winner. They should all feel like they won just by doing business with you. Make sure to give them something of value just for playing.

One of the most interesting aspects of Fahrenheit 212's Best Briefs Contest is their innovative approach to finding out exactly what their prospective clients need. Their idea is simple: create a contest where they offer their services for FREE (Value = $1 Million) to the most compelling proposal about a business growth opportunity submitted to them. Hint: Think about what you can give away for free to generate leads. Here's a 10-step plan to help you.

Step 1: WIFM (What's in it for me?)
Pick a prize that your prospects really want. It's best to offer a prize directly related to your business, but you can always offer an iPod, dinner for two at a local restaurant, concert tickets, $500 worth of groceries, $100 worth of gas, 3 days and 2 nights vacation, etc. For more ideas you can offer go to www.LumpyMail.com.

Step 2: WIFY (What's in it for YOU!)
Clearly establish your contest's goals. Are you using it to generate leads? Qualify prospects? Position your business as a resource? Contribute to your community?

Step 3: Create Rules for Entry
Clearly disclose your entry and eligibility rules.Have them looked over by a lawyer or other legal resource, and make sure the fine print covers any liabilities. Ask for all the prospect information you want to capture beyond the basics'such as buying preferences, top 3 challenges they're wrestling with, their occupation or even lifestyle questions that give you more insight about them.

Step 4: Determine How Entries are Accepted
Almost everyone is online these days, so design a way for prospects to submit entries to your Web site, and use a specific URL (like: www.business/contest.html). This is the fastest, easiest way to capture and track contest entries.

Step 5: Alert the Media
Publicize your contest by sending out a press release, writing about it on your Web site, or use advertising to generate buzz. Creativity counts when it comes to PR.

Step 6: Entry Evaluation
After you collect entries you can review them yourself, or call in a panel of judges to choose the winner based on the contest's rules. These judges may be local celebrities, public officials, or anyone well-known in your community.

Step 7: Announce the Winner
Everyone loves being told they're a winner, so capture the moment with photos, or better still, on video. When you send out a press release announcing the winner include a few photos, along with details on why their entry was selected. Always include a quote from your winner. If you have a video of the event, post it on YouTube and on your Web site.

Step 8: EVERYONE is a Winner
Contact every contestant after the winner is announced and thank him or her for entering. Then give them some consolation prize like a discount on their next purchase, or other low-cost giveaway that helps establish a relationship with them.

Step 9: Evaluate Your Results
Look at your contest's results and see if they met the goals set out in Step 2. Did you get the number of entries you thought you would? Did you get the PR you wanted? Did you capture the kind of information you needed?

Step 10: Do It Again!
After you've evaluated your contest's results, refine your goals if needed. Then come up with a strategy for future contests by tying them into specific times of the year or holidays.

Step 10.5: Ready. Fire. Aim!
Don't get too complicated your first time. Just try it in a small way. You might win, you might lose. But if you tried you will reap your success and that will be a win! Then, go back up to Step 1. Rinse, lather, repeat!