Follow-up from Scott Gould re Zero Incremental Cost

Sent by Jonathan Stark on May 11th, 2019

Longtime friend of the list and engagement guru Scott Gould sent in this amazing analysis of the New York Times “Sponsor a Student” program that I discussed in a message few days ago (shared with permission, bold mine):

Hi J This is totally a deep engagement play. NYTimes and The Guardian both operate with a high volume of their subscribers at the highest level of engagement whereby they are enlisted in the mission of the organisation. Other papers can’t do this because they don’t have a mission that they stand for. The masterful skill of NYT and The Guardian here is that they have made an intangible highly tangible (as all deep engagement must) - they are selling based on belief in an ideal, which is then embodied in their offering. You don’t just subscribe to a paper, you are subscribing to a mission of telling truth. And their mission? “We seek the truth and help people understand the world.” They have adverts that say “The Truth is worth paying for”. Also notice that NYT and The Guardian focus a lot on physical experiences to make the intangible tangible, and also bring their missionaries together. You’re buying an identity too! Their events make money, but also make their subscribers even stronger advocates! They’ve built a universe around truth. Same as the Marvel Cinematic Universe - there’s key characters, back stories, side stories, etc etc. Same as religion!!!! Aside: Precisely what my work with engagement is about, I’m proud to say! (Note: I’m not trying to get this into your newsletter, I don’t think it’s suitable. Just having a humble brag :-) Yours engagingly, Scott

Yes, yes, yes!!!

Scott and I are completely on the same page here, but he articulates the psychology of what’s going on about 100x better than I would have been able to.

Thanks for sharing, Scott!

By the way… this stuff is not marketing BS. Defining a mission, embodying the ideals through action, and then attracting missionaries to the cause?

This is how you make a dent in the universe. And as a side-effect, it also happens to be a rock solid way to build a thriving business.