The Beauty of Many Quick Pricing Experiments

When Gary Loveman joined Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment) in 1998, the casino company priced its slot machines like everyone else in the gaming industry. Management presumed that decreasing payouts—essentially raising the price—would drive some customers to other casinos. A sensible assumption, perhaps, but Loveman—a quantitative type who left a professorship at Harvard Business School to join the company—wasn’t one to assume. He commissioned a … [ Read more ]

Skipping Design Research Can Be Costly

Skipping design research can be costly. For example, high-end German automobile manufacturers were stunned when U.S. customers would not buy cars without cup holders. While drinking coffee in the car seemed unthinkable to Europeans, it wouldn’t have taken much design research to learn how important it is to U.S. car buyers. The manufacturers, forced to retrofit, created some of the most complex, expensive, unreliable and … [ Read more ]

Sell What the Customer Needs

A sales manager was deciding which of two salespeople to recruit. Passing over a ball point pen, he said, “Sell me one of these.” The first salesperson took the pen, examined it and said, “This is a very good pen. You will note the transparent barrel which indicates the color of the ink as well as showing when it is about to run out. There … [ Read more ]

You never really know someone until you see the choices she makes.

Like many photographers before him, Richard Zaltman was visiting remote areas of the world to capture images of people living lives far removed from those in the United States.

Here’s what made his experience different.

One morning, while walking through an isolated village in Bhutan, he suddenly got the idea of turning his camera over to the locals to see what they would consider significant enough to … [ Read more ]

Remind people (gently) of how much you’ve done for them

There’s a cardboard box company in Illinois that I ran into years ago. It was just phenomenal in terms of responsiveness. They were always on time or ahead of time, and they took on the tough orders. Their track record was brilliant. About a half dozen years ago, the guy who runs the company added two simple, innocent little columns to the end of the … [ Read more ]