We all had that one friend at school who was a genius at playing their parents. When I was a kid, that friend was Charlotte. She was a master at getting her parents to buy her what she wanted, but she never once begged them, or sulked, or threw a hissy fit. She was smarter than that. One year, her Dad said he’d go shopping with her to let her choose her birthday present. Her budget was $60 and not a penny more.
But Charlotte already knew what she wanted. This was 1998 and the Game Boy Colour had JUST come out… at an RRP of $89.99.
“That’s a shame,” I said. “I guess you’ll have to pick something else.” “Just watch me,” she said.
And sure enough, Charlotte had a strategy. On Saturday, she made her poor Dad follow her around town for hours until he pleaded with her to choose something.
At this point, Charlotte “just happened” to spot the new Game Boy Colour through a store window.
“Those are so cool!” she cried.
I would LOVE one of them! Ah, but it’s over budget. Let’s keep looking.” “Oh for goodness’ sake,” sighed her Dad.“ Just get it.”
With a mind like that at 11, it’s no accident that Charlotte was advising tech companies on a marketing strategy by her mid-20s.
And while I’m not saying you should trick your customers into making purchases they don’t want, there’s an important lesson to learn from her super sneaky pre-teen strategy, which every e-commerce marketer must nail to survive: Know Your Buyer Charlotte knew her Dad would place more value on saving time than saving money.
She knew that if she outright asked for something, he would refuse – but if he felt like it was his idea, he might agree to it. She had plotted the exact journey they would take together, she knew the exact outcome she wanted, and she had anticipated her Dad’s reactions and objections in order to manage the min advance. That meant she could lead him, step by step, to an outcome that was good for her (she got the Game Boy) and good for him (he was free to go to the pub). Smart, huh?
But figuring out what makes them tick is only half the battle. You then have to be savvy enough to translate that into a coherent strategy that keeps them on track, all the way to where you both want to end up