Cialdinism Digital Marketing Food for thought Uncategorized

Cialdinism #2 – The Rule of Reciprocation

This rule comes from Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence. The Rule of Reciprocation says that we should try to repay those who have provided us with something. This can be utilized to persuade someone into doing an act by giving them an item or gift. If someone sends us a birthday present, we should be sure to send them one back. If someone offers you tickets to the game, you should repay them somehow – buy them some beers will ya!

When someone gives you something, that is actually worth value to you (weather monetarily or emotionally), and you don’t pay them back you get this weird feeling in your gut. This feeling is caused by the Rule of Reciprocation. I first hand felt this feeling last week when I was down in Cabo. My wife and I were walking around the Marina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico when we stopped to check out the sea lions and seagulls that were by the boat ramp. After standing there for a few seconds one of the fisherman called us over and offered to us a few fish to feed the wild sea lion that was begging at the edge of the water, of course my wife jumped at the opportunity! She was able to feed him and pet him a couple times. We even got to witness the sea lion chase off a seagull that was trying to snatch the fish from my wives hand before she could give it to the sea lion. It was great!

Right after she got done feeding the sea lion we left… and I got this weird feeling in my stomach. It felt like I owed that guy something, he was probably expecting money, but I didn’t have any cash with me. I thought for the next several days on my trip about going back to the marina to pay him, but I never pulled myself to doing so because around that same time I read about this rule. It caused me to realize what that guy had done, he had created a highly profitable niche business in the harbors of Cabo. He was also utilizing a highly effective psychological tool to get people to willingly and happily give him money. A fish for him can’t cost much at all, he is a fisherman after all. It may have cost him $.20 for the 2 little fish he gave my wife, if I had cash I would have easily have given him $10 for the wonderful experience- those are damn good margins mi amigo!

Pay every debt, as if God wrote the bill. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

So anyways, the idea is to give your customers something for free so that they can return the favor to you in a way that makes sense for your business. I didn’t know about this rule when we did it, but we used it for one of our apparel brands a few months ago by giving away free shirts to our top 50 customers over the past year and the experiment has worked stunningly. Many of the customers we sent free shirts too ordered new shirts soon after.

Takeaway: Find a way for your business to use the Rule of Reciprocation to your advantage, weather it be sending your customers something for free unexpectedly or giving someone at the harbor a fun experience that costs you pretty much nothing. It will be worth it.

Digital Marketing Food for thought Uncategorized

Year in Review

So every year on my birthday I like to do a little year in review, ya know… what happened in the past year type of thing to reflect on the past and prepare for the future. (doing it on New Years Day is way too cliché)


The past year has been pretty incredible to say the least. Some times life resembles a roller coaster of ups and downs but this past year was just up. I got married. Moved back to Wisconsin. Successfully launched a new company. Fell in love with Indian food. Looking back on it, I can’t think of anything negative that happened. (Revision: I did gain a few lbs., but who cares… I blame the Indian food.)


We really hit a homerun with our newest LSA company, Korked Baseball. (pun intended) Korked went from 0 – 100 real quick, as the kids would say. It started out with the entire Chicago Cubs team wearing our Try Not to Suck shirt then only grew from there. We ended up getting into 35+ stores, including every Lids in the Chicago area. (Kind of a dream for the HS me that wore hats all of the time) The best part was that we raised over $700,000 for charity over the past year, if you would have told me a year ago that we would have been able to do that I would’ve said you were full of shit. Seriously, I wouldn’t have believed you.


Marketing wise for Korked we learned a lot over the past year, eventually getting to the point where for every $15 we spent on digital ads we were making $100, that’s just the direct conversions not including the word-of-mouth sales. So with that we thought, well why don’t we start a new company to do marketing for other clients… and that’s what we did.


Last month we started a new marketing agency (still needs a name) doing marketing for a professional indoor soccer team, a marathon, semi-pro baseball teams, and more running events. So far so good. Over the next year we plan on growing it into something special.


With LSA over the next year we plan on adding a few more sports related brands and continue to grow Korked with an eye on exit. So far this year has been good, we have really been able to optimize our site and ads in a scalable way… I hope to be giving you another “I would’ve said you were full of shit.” stories again next year about the success of Korked and the other brands we build.


I’m really thankful for: my wife, for all of the support over the past year letting me work 80-90 hour weeks when needed. All of our customers. Our LSA partners Mike, Joe, John, Joe, and Joe. As well as the Cubs for winning the World Series, because if they didn’t last year could’ve been a different story.


Till next year,


Picture of the year – Never forget



Food for thought Uncategorized

‘Enough.’ Needing to change our focus – Food for Thought

In today’s world there is always a focus on more and ‘enough.’

We are so hyper focused on making sure we have more, making sure we have ‘enough.’

  • We need more likes on social posts
  • We want more market share (not a bad thing)
  • We demand more quick wins

And to see them at rest, it seems as though we never can get enough:

  • Things to entertain us (I’m talking about those of us with Cable, Hulu and Netflix who are also using Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram… we don’t really need all of them, do we?)
  • Shallow friendships
  • Conspicuous displays of success (Wooo another follower….)

These are big reasons why many people say ‘they don’t have enough time’ to get something they’ve always wanted to do done…

But on the other hand…

There are a lot of us that walk around and think we have enough:

  • Education (We got that degree, right? What more do we need…)
  • Actionable knowledge
  • Deep Relationships
  • Mind changing conversations
  • Exposure to difficult topics

But do we…

I’m wondering what happens if we flip these segments?

Digital Marketing Food for thought Uncategorized

You bought the story. Why I bought beef jerky…

Think of your last purchase of something you wanted. I’m not talking about the groceries or the gas you just bought but that last thing you purchased that you didn’t need, what was it? Why did you buy it?

I often ask myself this question as a marketer- I also often ask my fiance this question but that’s an entirely different story.

My last purchase of something I wanted was as simple as beef jerky from a local butcher shop called Ray’s Butcher Shop. So why did I venture 20 minutes out of my way to drive to Ray’s to get beef jerky when I could have gone to any gas station or grocery store around my house to buy some? Sure, at Ray’s they make their own beef jerky but to be honest it isn’t that much better than what one can buy at the gas station or grocery store, not enough to go 40 minutes round trip to get it. Ray’s is also double the price of the jerky one can find at a grocery store. So why did I go there? Why did I want beef jerky?

The answer to both of those questions is  “I was able to tell myself a story I believed.” I get to tell myself that I am going out of my way to Ray’s to get my jerky because I care about helping out a small business. That I am doing what is right by the community as we don’t want to lose this ‘little gem’ that is one of the few mom and pop deli’s left in our area. But I am lying to myself, I’m believing the story that it is worth my time and extra money to purchase homemade jerky from Ray’s. It isn’t.

So why did I pick jerky? Was I hungry at the time? Not really. It was on father’s day and I was with my fiance and I felt like doing something ‘manly.’ So- what’s manlier than beef jerky??? Nothing I tell you! Is beef jerky good, well yea… but is it? Well… to be honest if you take away the teriyaki or peppered flavor it tastes a little cardboardy… well a lot cardboardy. It tastes like cardboard made love to a steak and had a tough/chewy baby.  But by buying and eating the beef jerky I was able to do something manly. I was able to eat meat with my hands, it’s very primitive if you think about it.

The story/lie I told myself of ‘Eating beef jerky will make me feel more like a man’ resonated with me. That’s why I purchased beef jerky from Ray’s Butcher Shop. So- what was your last purchase? What story did you tell yourself to justify the purchase?