Tag Archives: customer development

Learning About Online Marketing from Street Performers


Living in a large city like Moscow provides me with a truly unique, twice-daily encounter with a random segment of 7 million other daily subway commuters.  As part of this journey I am often thrown face to face with the subway’s sundry performers, sellers of random crap and beggars. I’d say there are approximately 2-5 individuals who I observe engaged in some sort of attention-grabbing activity every day, so I’ve been witness to a wide spectrum of skill and determination.

Today for the first time it occurred to me how compelling people to spare a little change and stick around for a few seconds is a lot like getting people to sign up and pay for some service online.  The intense boredom of a long subway ride got me dwelling on this for a little too long and here are the results.

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A Thought-provoking Tale of Customer Acquisition

I was thinking about what product I’ve used the longest on a daily (or at least weekly basis), and I realized that in my case this is none other than my trusty  Gillette Mach3 razor. That thing is old and I just haven’t had a chance to replace it, but if I ever get around to it, I will probably go for another Gillette.

Gillette freebie?

I found the razor in the mailbox along with paper spam right around my 18th birthday. I’ve been a satisfied user for 11 years now (I am turning 29 on May 5th, for those wondering about my age), and still I have no idea how Gillette found out that I was turning 18.  However they did it, their customer acquisition kung-fu turned out to be incredibly effective.

I also just learned from Wikipedia that Mach3 was introduced in 1998, so this was a brand new product at the time and it must have been at its promotional peak. The most effective promotion in this case was just to give the razor, which purportedly took some $750 million to develop, away.

As far as I am concerned there is no real product differentiation among razor manufacturers, it’s more of a force of habit — once you go with one, chances are you’ll stay with that one forever. So what better way to acquire customers than to send them a free razor when they are most likely to be making a decision that could spell lifetime loyalty to Gillette brand?

Now let me turn the question around and ask you what products you’ve used the longest and how did you end up sticking with them for so long? I would love to hear your stories.

Help us name our startup and app!


We are building an online social application that lets you stay on top of and enjoy things that your friends find interesting, good, likable, cool, irresistible and noteworthy, or things they just liked for no reason.

“Things” in this context include places they visit, foods they try, music they listen to, books they read, etc. There is really no limit what one may enjoy in life, is there?

Needless to say we are looking for something that has that special ring to it, that is easy to remember and not too lame.

For now we have shortlisted the following three names. Please help us decide!

If you have other ideas or suggestions, you can let us know in the comments.

*Domain names would be irresistib.ly, likewisely.com or likewise.ly, and justliked.com.