Speaking Out of School or The Pink Spoon Pricing Model
Do you want others to trust you, to buy what you’re selling? Sometimes you have to absorb the cost of giving away a little bit of what you do or what you make in order to convince people to buy more of what you offer. We can call this the Pink Spoon model, named for the little pink spoons that #Baskin-Robbins uses to hand out samples of their ice cream.
You don’t pay for the spoon, and you don’t pay for the ice cream on that spoon, at least not directly. And if it weren’t for that sample, how would you know if you like Cherries Jubilee, Cotton Candy, or even the provocatively named and utterly non-descriptive Love Potion #31 (which I looked up: “white chocolate and raspberry flavored ice creams, a raspbery (sic) swirl, chocolate flavored chips, and raspberry-filled chocolate flavored hearts.” I’d try a pink spoonful of that).
I’ve never worked in an ice cream shop, so I don’t know how much those pink spoons and samples cost, and what the ROI is. That’s okay. And from a client’s point of view, isn’t it nice to know that you can minimize your risk and if you don’t like Love Potion #31 or the dangerous sounding Wild ‘n Reckless Sherbet or the esteem-raising but inscrutable Gold Medal Ribbon flavor (“…vanilla flavored and chocolate ice creams swirled with a caramel ribbon….” Ooh! I’ll have that instead because it’s “the champion of flavor”!) you can still get good ol’ Rocky Road or a chocolate shake if that’s what you want to satisfy your needs? You can even walk out and not buy anything… but you’ll come back next time. That’s the long-game plan.
This applies to more than just ice cream. This happen all the time in the “freemium” model, described by Vineet Kumar in #Harvard Business Review as getting “basic features at no cost (with) richer functionality for a subscription fee.” That means that If you create content or provide a service, the pink spoon also applies. Sometimes you won’t know until you try. The pink spoon allows customers to try. And then they’ll know. And Richer Functionality… that should be an ice cream flavor!